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School is back in session – remotely!
And while students are getting used to their new at-home classrooms, teachers are finding unique and innovative ways to reconnect with students and facilitate learning at a physical distance.
The first week back from spring break started with teachers reaching out to students and parents by phone, email, video and online meetings, to touch base, provide reassurances and gently introduce what remote learning might look like moving forward.
It’s been an unprecedented transition for everyone, getting familiar with video calls and online-only assignments. But even from afar, teachers had many heartfelt conversations with students.
And in the midst of it all, staff shared words of encouragement with each other, showcasing numerous examples of teachers supporting teachers and staff coming together. Check out this video by Fleetwood Park Secondary staff, channeling their inner Neil Diamond!
Even though students can’t physically be at school right now, many families are finding ways to show their gratitude to their schools, teachers and principals.
And the teachers are showing their love for their students too!
To read more tweets on how teachers are connecting with students, parents and one another, visit @Surrey_Schools on Twitter!
Teachers! Keep sharing all the interesting ways you are using remote learning in the weeks to come! We'd love to feature your work here and on social media – don't forget to use the hashtag #sd36learn.
Please see this video message for parents, students and staff in the Surrey School District regarding how Week 1 has gone and what you can look forward to moving forward as we continue to navigate the new reality of education while working together to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
we move to week two, parents and students will see more information coming from
schools. Lessons will slowly begin to come your way and you will be asked as
well to work with new tools and methods that require new learning,” says Supt.
Jordan Tinney. “One of the reasons we are asking schools to move slowly and
steadily in rolling out instruction is so that we don’t overburden our parents
who need time to adjust as well.”
The health and safety of all students, staff and school communities is our top priority. In partnership with public health officials, Surrey Schools is closely monitoring the current situation with regard to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
Transcripts: English; Chinese; Punjabi.
April 3, 2020: Message to Surrey Schools parents, students & staff from Surrey Schools on Vimeo.
Also click to view:
Communications to students & parents:
March 17 letter from Supt. Jordan Tinney regarding suspension of in-class instruction
Communications to staff:
March 19 memo to staff from Supt. Jordan Tinney
Update April 2, 2020
Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 55 new
cases of COVID-19 in B.C. bringing the total number of cases to 1121.
Note: 641 people have now fully recovered that’s a 57%
recovery rate. All daily joint statements from the Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Office are posted here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health
Also, the Ministry of
Children and Family Development, created this information bulletin, “Province helps essential service workers find child care” that includes an update
for K-12 parents, too.
The Ministry of Education has launched Keep Learning - https://www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/, so families can find ideas for everyday educational activities, links to free learning resources, as well as how to help children learn and how to ensure their wellbeing while they're at home. Note: Teachers and schools will have primary responsibility for continuous learning.
The Ministry of Education has also released a Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs) document in regards to "Continuity of Learning in the K-12 education system". This document will be helpful for students and families.
* The Province has created a dedicated phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19. This includes the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and resources from the provincial and federal governments.
British Columbians can reach service representatives seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.. Information is available in more than 110 languages.
PHO's order on people returning from travel
PHO's order on mass gatherings
More information on updated testing strategy & self-isolation
Recommendations on protecting yourself & your community
COVID-19 pandemic preparedness & planning materials
BC Centre for Disease Control
Surrey Schools and COVID-19
On March 23, all school district playground structures were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and encourage social distancing. Play structuresfields and courts have been taped off and signs posted.
On March 20, the District Education Centre and other district buildings and offices that are typically open during spring break, were closed to the public until further notice. Staff who are able to work remotely are doing so, while others required to be in shared spaces are using safe distancing. Members of the public requiring assistance can call 604-596-7733.
On March 17, the provincial government suspended all in-class instruction for all BC schools indefinitely. While Surrey and White Rock students had already started the two-week spring break period, the district also cancelled all facility rentals and spring break camps and programs. Surrey Schools has been working diligently to develop a plan to continue instruction, as per Ministry of Education expectations, outside of the regular classroom environment. This plan will facilitate the continuation of learning, including options for e-learning and at-home learning.
On March 10, Coast Meridian Elementary received a communication that a member of the school community tested positive for COVID-19. In response, the district closed the school for one day (March 11) to disinfect the entire school. The school was re-opened March 12.
On the weekend of March 7-8, Fraser Health notified the Surrey School District that a member of the Sullivan Heights Secondary community was a confirmed case of COVID-19. The same weekend, the district was also notified by Fraser Health that an individual, who was diagnosed with COVID-19, had recently been in Serpentine Heights Elementary as part of a community use rental. The district initiated a deep clean protocol in both schools over the weekend in preparation for classes on March 9.
The Surrey School District's school-based meal program will continue service today, Monday, March 30th, when classes were meant to resume following spring break.
While the district has suspended in-class instruction to curb the spread of COVID-19, all students who were previously receiving breakfast and lunch through the program will continue to receive meals at nine initial sites across the district.
"The continuation of the meal program during the pandemic was a priority for our district," explains Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. "In light of what's happening globally, we didn't want our students or their families to have one more thing to worry about."
More than 2,100 students in the Surrey School District rely on the district's meal program, which provides breakfast and lunch to students in need. Before spring break, the program was providing breakfast at more than 61 schools, while lunch was provided at 31 sites. More than 3,800 meals are served each day of the school year.
"The program won't look the same as it does on an average school day," explains Dr. Jordan Tinney, Superintendent of Surrey Schools. "But we've been able to adapt the program to safely continue providing nutritious meals for students who wouldn't otherwise have access to a meal."
The adapted program will operate out of nine schools initially, with a combination of drive-through and in-person pick up. Social distancing and other infection control practices will be closely followed. A single meal and snacks will be provided with sufficient calories to cover both breakfast and lunch. The program will operate Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and parents will be notified by their principals.
"Locations for our distribution sites for the adapted meal program were selected very carefully," explains Jacob Sol, Assistant Superintendent with Surrey Schools. "We considered factors including where the students accessing the meal program live, and how accessible and safe the surrounding walking and driving routes are. Our goal is to make sure students that rely on these meals continue to have access."
Through principals, the program will stay in close communication with parents and guardians, and will make exceptions to the program delivery model as needed.
This modified "grab and go" meal program will have capacity to supply all students who are currently utilizing school-based meal programs from Monday, March 30th onwards. The program will initially operate as pilot, with refinements expected once this adapted program goes live and the district deploys this new service model.
Supported by the Surrey Board of Education, the district's school-based meal program is funded by Community Link grants provided by the Ministry of Education. Further funding is provided by generous donors. 100% of donated funds are used to purchase food for students in need. All staffing and administration costs are covered by the Surrey School District.
If you're interested in becoming a donor to support this initiative, please call 604-595-6066 or email email@example.com. A tax receipt will be provided for all donations of $25 or more.
Please see this important video message for parents and students in the Surrey School District from Supintendent Jordan Tinney regarding what to expect next week when our staff returns from spring break.
Students will be at home and our teachers will be working remotely to design learning opportunities for them, as in-class instruction remains suspended in schools across B.C to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our hope is that by the end of next week (March 30-April 3), every student will have received a communication from their school.
It was successful showing for robotics students in the district at the FIRST Robotics Canada Pacific Regional in Victoria recently.
Six robotics teams from Surrey Schools competed in the tournament, held at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre March 4-7. Of those six teams, three received awards: L.A. Matheson Secondary's Mecha Mustangs won the Engineering Inspiration Award, North Surrey Secondary's Hephaestus won the Industrial Design Award and Queen Elizabeth Secondary's Royal Robotics won the Highest Rookie Seed Award.
L.A. Matheson placed second overall, earning the team a seat at the world championships in Houston, Texas, while North Surrey received a wildcard nomination to worlds.
The other Surrey teams included System Reset from Clayton Heights Secondary, Techmates from Earl Marriott Secondary and Semiahmoo Robotics from Semiahmoo Secondary. The tournament saw 42 teams from around the world put their robots through technical skills challenges to demonstrate accuracy, versatility and balance.
Each robot was programmed to throw yellow balls through a hoop, as well as lift and balance from a pull-up bar as part of the competition.
In a separate competition, for the third straight year, Enver Creek Secondary qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Ky., following an impressive performance at the VEX B.C. Mainland Regional Championships in late February. Enver Creek is home to two of the nine B.C. teams that advanced to the world championship.
Unfortunately, both the VEX Robotics World Championship and the 2020 FIRST Championship in Houston have been cancelled due to health concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Trustee Garry Thind checks out the Epic Bottle Rockets science project, presented by Don Christian Elementary students Peyton Slind and Melanie Curan.
The recent Surrey Schools Science & Innovation Fair brought exactly that to the table, as students from across the district showcased unique and inventive solutions to real-world problems through their exhibits.
The 53rd-annual district fair saw 105 projects by 145 Grade 4-8 students, including seven projects by 13 French Immersion students. Twenty-three elementary schools and six secondary schools competed at the fair, held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Surrey campus.
The judges awarded 94 gold medals, 47 silver and four bronze to the competitors. Some of the main themes of this year's projects included ideas to address medical and environmental issues, as well as the optional intergalactic theme of how humans can colonize Mars.
A handful of projects were selected to be presented at the March 11 Surrey Board of Education meeting:
Grade 3 students from Sunnyside Elementary pose with (back row, left to right) Surrey DPAC president Rina Diaz, Surrey-Guildford MLA Garry Begg, Trustee Laurae McNally, Minister of Education Rob Fleming, Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh, Trustee Bob Holmes, Surrey Schools Secretary-Treasurer Greg Frank and Supt. Jordan Tinney.
Students in South Surrey can look forward to more classroom space in an expanded Sunnyside Elementary, and a new school destined for a site purchased in the Darts Hill area.
Minister of Education Rob Fleming was in Surrey on Thursday afternoon to announce the combined $25.4-million investment in the 10-classroom, 250-seat addition at Sunnyside, and the site where a new elementary school will be built. The school district is contributing another $5 for the Darts Hill site.
"As Surrey continues to grow, we'll keep building new and expanded schools wherever they're needed, so every student has the best chance to succeed," he said.
Trustee Laurae McNally was thrilled at the government commitment to new school space in the rapidly growing South Surrey neighbourhood. She thanked the Sunnyside Elementary school community for their patience, both in the past and while construction of the addition proceeds.
"I look forward to coming back here soon to celebrate the opening of your new addition," McNally said.
The Sunnyside addition is anticipated to eliminate the need for up to 12 portables at the school, and is expected to be complete by September 2022
See the full Ministry of Education news release HERE.
Surrey Schools students have 33 new medals to show off, following numerous successful performances at the Skills Canada Lower Fraser Valley Regional Competition last week.
The annual competition provides an opportunity for students to showcase their skills in a variety of trades and technology-related fields, including welding, fashion, culinary arts, graphic design, automotive and carpentry. This year, about 150 students competed.
Surrey students took home 13 gold medals, 12 silver and eight bronze. Fraser Heights Secondary was the big winner, taking home eight medals: five gold, two silver and one bronze.
Gold medal winners in the Senior Skills category were:
There was also a Junior Skills competition, with the following students winning gold:
The competitions were held at various school sites, including Enver Creek Secondary, Fraser Heights Secondary, Kwantlen Park Secondary, Semiahmoo Secondary and Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Cloverdale campus. Results of the graphic design competition will be available following the contest at Seaquam Secondary on March 13.
Gold medallists will compete at the provincial Skills Canada British Columbia Competition, scheduled for April 15 at the Tradex in Abbotsford. The National Competition will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre on May 28-29.
UPDATE: The provincial and national skills competitions have been cancelled due to concerns over the COVID-10 global pandemic.
March is National Reading Month, and what better time than now to pick up a book and start reading.
Westerman Elementary teacher Danielle Peters started a book blog, Dee Bibliophilia, as a way to recommend books to others and share her lifelong passion for literature.
"I was reading so many books, and it was hard to recommend a book I read three months ago," she said. "I thought, I'll post as I'm reading them and if people are looking for a book, they can take a look. And it just grew, and grew, and grew."
Recent statistics have indicated a drop in reading frequency, enjoyment and sense of importance among children, and Peters largely attributes that decline to too much screen time.
"We're overstimulated and our kids don't know how to just sit and enjoy a book," she said. "We really need to borrow time from things that are less important like TV time or screen time and show kids how important reading is."
But how do we encourage students to find joy in reading again? Peters has a few tips for families to put down the remote controls and pick up some good books.
To start, regular visits to the library and book store can generate an interest in reading in young minds, and it's even more effective when kids are allowed to choose what they want to read.
"I think some parents don't want their kids to read graphic novels because they think it's just a comic book or a cartoon but I think there's value in that," she said. "Giving your kids a chance to cruise around, look at the different books, the genres and letting them have choice over it is a big tip to getting kids interested."
Another tip is dedicating a daily reading time, which Peters says helps children find enjoyment in reading as a routine – and it doesn't have to be right before bed.
"It could be while you're cooking dinner or you're reading together after dinner, whenever it is, it gives your kids time to show them the importance of reading," she said. "Even 15 minutes, it sounds like nothing, but it's enough to read a couple chapters and have a conversation about it and have kids start learning those literacy skills of inferencing and predicting."
If you're still stuck on what to read, the district's teacher librarians have some recommendations:
Books for children:
Books for teens: