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Dec 03
Join the Snokomish Elementary public information meeting on Dec. 9

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(Image by studioHuB architects)


The district is hosting a virtual public information meeting on Thursday, Dec. 9, to answer questions and provide further details on the new Snokomish Elementary coming to the Sullivan Heights area.

Located near 58th Avenue and 148th Street, the new three-storey, 655-seat elementary school will feature 27 classrooms and a Neighbourhood Learning Space with a daycare for children age three to five, as well as before-and-after school care. Scheduled to open in Spring 2025, the school will also be designed with environmental sustainability and Indigenous influence in mind, with input and expertise from a range of voices on the project's steering committee.

"The Aboriginal Learning perspective has been huge, it's really informed the design quite a lot," said Dave Riley, Director of the Capital Project Office. "A lot of the design choices of the building have come out of commentary on the need for reconciliation and the shift to a non-institutional design for the school, trying to make it feel warm and welcoming for all. It's a really positive message to try to spread.

"We're also looking at a full electric building that's significantly better than LEED Gold, with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any school in the district. It's the first time we've ever done it here."

The district is currently gathering public feedback through an online survey, seeking input and questions on traffic, safety, parking, landscaping and other important factors of the design. Associate Director Autumn Sweet said traffic and onsite drop-off and pick-up, which is mandated by the City of Surrey, have been among key concerns that have gone into developing the schools' design.

"We worked with the city early on and hired a traffic management consultant to analyze our options," said Sweet, noting the district also engaged with ICBC to review the site plan to maximize safety. "It really came down to three designs, and the current design is best for traffic management, student safety and pedestrian safety."

Riley said parents in the community have expressed interest in the school because the location is very close to single-family homes in the area.

"They all have young kids and they're going to be able to watch their kids walk to school from their front deck and play at the school after hours," he said. "There's a lot of excitement."

Riley, Sweet and Project Manager Wendy Crowe will be on hand for the public information meeting, along with city representatives from Planning & Development, Traffic and Parks departments, and studioHuB architects.

The public information meeting is Thursday, Dec. 9, 6-7:30 p.m. and will include a Q&A session, answering questions from the online survey as well as the live chat on Zoom. Members of the public can join the webinar using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83116958783

For more information, visit surreyschools.ca/snokomish

Dec 03
Making travel plans? New arrival testing & isolation requirements for air travellers returning from non-U.S. countries

Global travel graphic-no lines.jpgThe federal government now requires all travellers five and up flying into Canada from countries other than the United States to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Canadian airports and self-isolate until they receive a negative result, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.

The arrival test is in addition to the already required negative pre-entry PCR test that must be taken within 72 hours of scheduled flights into Canada. If an arrival test is not available, travellers will be given a take-home test.

Vaccinated travellers must isolate until they receive a negative result from their arrival test. Unvaccinated travellers must isolate for the full 14 days and test on Day 1 and Day 8 of their quarantine. As long as travellers have a safe place to isolate, they do not have to stay in a government quarantine hotel.

IMPORTANT: The 14-day rule remains in effect for students who are not fully vaccinated, regardless of whether they are returning from the U.S. or another country. Students who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated CANNOT attend school for 14 days following their return, regardless of who they travel with or if they receive a negative PCR test result before and/or after an international flight, according to federal travel guidance around COVID-19.

There are exemptions for travel as part of cross-border custody agreements. For more information on this exemption, check here.

In addition to school, students who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated cannot attend the following for 14 days after international travel:

  • day cares and camps
  • settings with vulnerable people (i.e. long-term care facilities)
  • large crowded indoor or outdoor settings (i.e. amusement parks, sporting events)
  • crowded public transportation that does not ensure physical distancing and masking

 

Fully vaccinated students can return to school after receiving a negative result from their arrival test, as long as they also received a negative pre-entry PCR test and their second vaccination was at least two weeks prior to their return.

If you decide to travel internationally during the school year, please coordinate with your teacher and school beforehand to ensure your child stays on top of schoolwork while they are away and for the 14 days following their return.

As there are periodic updates on requirements for travellers, we recommend you check for updates while planning your trip and again shortly before planned travel. For more information on federal guidance and restrictions, visit canada.ca/coronavirus. For information on provincial measures, visit bccdc.ca/covid19 or call 811.

Dec 02
Help stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation
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(Image via BCCDC)


There is a lot of information out there about coronavirus and vaccines, but not all of it is factual – it's important to separate the facts from the falsehoods, especially when sharing with others.

Sharing misinformation or disinformation is as harmful as writing it, and puts you and others at risk if unverified claims are circulated. Before reposting information online, ask yourself:

  • Does this sound accurate?
  • Is this coming from a reliable source?
  • Can the content be verified by a second source?

 

It is best to verify information through provincial or territorial public health resources, such as the BCCDC and Fraser Health. Health Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also trusted sources for verified information, and the WHO has an entire page dedicated to mythbusting COVID-19 misinformation.

Be aware and wary of misinformation about COVID-19. For more information on Canada's response to COVID-19, visit canada.ca/covid-19

Dec 01
Communit-E Bulletins for Surrey School District families - November 2021

Are you looking for activities, volunteer opportunities and community resources for your family that are close to home?

The Business Development Department of the Surrey School District coordinates the distribution of community information that may be of interest to parents and guardians in our community.

This information is gathered quarterly, specifically for the Communit-E Bulletins, and typically relates to sports, arts, tutoring/education, events and other activities and resources of interest to children, youth and families in the city's various regions.

CommunitE Bulletin.JPGPlease click on your preferred neighbourhoods and school levels:

 

Information is not limited to the bulletins and many more areas of interest can be found on the Community Information page on the school district website.

For more information or if you have questions, please email BDEV-Office@surreyschools.ca.

Nov 30
Surrey schools step up to support flood relief efforts

Relief-Colebrook.pngStudents and staff at numerous schools across the district have been collecting donations of money, food and clothing for residents who have been impacted by the recent floods and mudslides in the Fraser Valley. Here are just a few of our school communities that have pitched in to help!

Colebrook Cares, the Grade 5 and 6 leadership team at Colebrook Elementary, held a bottle drive, collecting more than 80 bags of bottles and cans to raise money for Abbotsford flood victims. The students were challenged to make a mountain of bags outside of Principal Tam Davison Manery's office. They more than met the challenge!

A kindergarten class at Edgewood Elementary organized a fundraiser for the BC SPCA, designing posters and asking students to each bring a toonie to help animals affected by the floods. Between the toonie drive, School CashOnline donations and a donation from the PAC executive, the school raised $1,326.86 for the BC SPCA.

The Douglas Elementary PAC helped arrange a day to gather donations of warm clothing, towels and blankets from the community for Abbotsford flood victims, later distributed to those in need by the Abbotsford Police. And Panorama Ridge Secondary hosted an after-school carnival last Friday to raise money for families in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

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There is still a significant need for donations of money, food and clothing for families in the Fraser Valley. Below are a number of charities and organizations that are accepting help for flood victims.

Food & Items

 

Monetary & Online Donations

 

For more information on where to give and what items are needed most, see the City of Abbotsford's Flooding Alert page and scroll down to Donations and Support.

Nov 30
Grade 7-12 students sought for education minister's Youth Dialogue Series on Social Justice

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Are you in Grade 7 to 12 and passionate about social justice? Why does racial justice matter to you? How can we make B.C.'s education system more equitable for all?

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside is seeking participants for a Youth Dialogue on Social Justice to hear students' lived experiences of racism and discrimination, their suggestions and input, and/or their commitment to social justice.

Participants are asked to take part in three to four sessions with the minister, with total commitment of 20 hours during the year. Youth will be compensated for their time and knowledge.

There is no experience necessary and participation is not based on school attendance or academic record.

Expressions of interest are due to Equitas (the facilitator) by Dec. 6. Submission may be made using any format, including via this form, video or art collage. See more ideas and information about submitting expressions of interest HERE.

Click here to view a video explaining this opportunity!

Nov 26
Three Surrey students win Dhahan Prize Youth Awards for their Punjabi prose

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Two students from L.A. Matheson Secondary and one from Princess Margaret Secondary are among this year's eight winners of the Dhanan Prize Youth Awards, a Punjabi short story and literature contest for Grade 11 and 12 students in B.C.

Jujhar Singh Chahal, Daljeet Singh Dhillon and Mantoj Kaur Grewal were recognized at last week's awards ceremony, held at L.A. Matheson Secondary, a partner in the contest by local business owner Barj S. Dhahan. The fourth-annual creative writing contest tested the writing and language skills of Grade 11 and 12 students who wrote short stories between 800 and 1,000 words in Punjabi and translated into English.

"As a Punjabi language teacher, I feel so proud of my students," said L.A. Matheson teacher Gurpreet Bains. "Some of them started with the alphabet in Grade 10 and have gone on to making sentences in creative writing and then winning – nothing else gives me more happiness than this."

A jury of professors and authors selected this year's winners, which also included four recipients from Dasmesh Punjabi School in Abbotsford and one from Khalsa Secondary School. Each winner received a $500 bursary, as well as a copy of Lofty Heights, an anthology of the winning stories, with translations in Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi Scripts, French and English. (The anthology is available for purchase by contacting Barj S. Dhahan at barj@dhahanprize.com)

"I'm not a published author but my students are, how cool is that?" said Bains.

L.A. Matheson principal Kirsten Farquhar said the contest highlights a variety of moving themes from students, often showcasing their voices through creative writing.

"A lot of it is about identity, and the students are writing about identity in these beautiful stories that their audience connects with," she said. "That's a big piece of it all, they're developing themselves through literature."


Full List of Winning Submissions:

  • Do Good, Have Good by Namandeep Kaur, Khalsa Secondary
  • Moon by Puneet Kaur Khakh, Dasmesh Punjabi School
  • Realization by Jujhar Singh Chahal, L.A. Matheson Secondary
  • Remorse by Daljeet Singh Dhillon, L.A. Matheson Secondary
  • The Delicate Threads of Relationships by Gursimar Kaur Mahal, Dasmesh Punjabi School
  • The Value of Hard Work by Gurleen Kaur Brar, Dasmesh Punjabi School
  • Distressed Soul by Mantoj Kaur Grewal, Princess Margaret Secondary
  • Together by Prabhleen Kaur Buttar, Dasmesh Punjabi School
Nov 26
École Laronde students learn life skills while helping others through 'compassion project'

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Grade 6 students at École Laronde Elementary are raising money for several non-profit organizations as part of a "compassion project" to develop skills to carry forward outside of the classroom.

Teacher Christine Carriou said the objective of the project is to contribute to the community while also learning about global citizenship and how a small group can work collaboratively  toward a common goal. The students have brainstormed ways to fundraise for five charitable groups: BC Children's Hospital, Lookout Housing + Health Society, Sources Women's Place, Make-a-Wish Foundation and the BC SPCA.

"It's very purposeful, they're doing something that makes a difference," she said. "It's kind of outside of their comfort zone to reach out to these groups, but it's also exciting for them and teaches them skills around listening and communication, exchanging ideas, delegating and including everyone."

In past years, Carriou said she's assigned a similar project for individual students, but this is the first time the class has worked together. Students were divided into groups to select non-profits to support and find unique ways to raise money and promote their fundraiser.

"It's gone way beyond my expectations – the kids are running with it," she said. "They've demonstrated so much excitement to give back to the community."

So far, the students have done a bottle drive, created advertising, canvassed door-to-door, collected items for the SPCA and created handmade crafts to sell at school. The crafts include bookmarks, Christmas cards and hats, necklaces and bracelets, bath bombs, ornaments, origami and stress balls.

The class is accepting donations of cash and items for animals (i.e. pet food, blankets, toys) until Friday, Dec. 3, either dropped off at the school (1880 Laronde Dr.) or by Interac e-transfer to larondecompassionproject@gmail.com

If you would like to make an e-transfer donation, please indicate which charity you would like to deposit your donation to in the e-transfer message:

  • BC Children's Hospital
  • Lookout Housing + Health Society
  • Sources Women's Place
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • SPCA

Note: The school is unable to give out donation receipts.

For more information or if you have any questions about donating to the project, email Christine Carriou at carriou_c@surreyschools.ca

Nov 25
Districtwide arts festivals are back, with Concert Band Revue first to take the stage!

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The Semiahmoo Secondary Grade 9 Concert Band is one of 30 ensembles that performed at this week's Concert Band Revue at the Bell Performing Arts Centre, the first districtwide music event since the start of the pandemic. (Photo via Semiahmoo Secondary on Twitter) 


Live performance is back for students in the district, with this week's Concert Band Revue marking the long-awaited return to districtwide arts events.

Grade 8 to 12 students from 30 ensembles are participating in the weeklong concert festivities at the Bell Performing Arts Centre, including students from Enver Creek, Fleetwood Park, Frank Hurt, Guildford Park, Johnston Heights, L.A. Matheson, Lord Tweedsmuir, North Surrey, Panorama Ridge, Princess Margaret, École Salish, Semiahmoo and Tamanawis secondary schools.

"This has been in the works since the summer," said Tricia Liversidge, the arts education helping teacher. "We had to wait for guidelines from the Coalition for Music Education in B.C., the provincial government, and the B.C. Music Educators' Association. And then we took all those recommendations to our health and safety department for review and made adjustments where needed. It's been quite a journey."

The excitement has reached a fever pitch for students and teachers alike, with Liversidge noting the days have been a little emotional and overwhelming.

"They're thrilled, there's been cheering and lots of comments from teachers and feedback from students already, even in just preparing," she said. "Even just to be around their peers and listen to them play, it's pretty incredible."

Festivals follow the provincial health and safety guidelines, including daily health checks, maximizing space between students, frequent hand hygiene and indoor mask usage, but with additional provisions for concerts. These include wearing masks while singing, not sharing sheet music and music stands, and limiting audience capacity to just students, teachers, staff and adult supervisors.

"As much as we would love to have parents attending, we just can't do it right now," said Liversidge. "But the event can take place, which is the first step."

Looking ahead to the new year, the district will be hosting the Secondary Dance Festival on Thursday, Jan. 13; the Secondary Choral Festival on Wednesday, Jan. 19; the Surrey Schools International Jazz Festival (date to be determined) and another Concert Band Revue in the second semester. All will be at the Bell Performing Arts Centre.

Here's to another great performance season!

Nov 25
Students & staff celebrate the camaraderie and community the return of school sports brings

The Semiahmoo Secondary senior girls volleyball team in action earlier this season.

This school year has marked the long-awaited return of sports to gyms and fields throughout the district, and students and staff alike are happy to be back in the game safely under provincial health guidelines.

Since September, schools have been permitted to bring sports back, with certain restrictions, for the first time since the spring 2020 season was suspended due to the pandemic.

"Sports are such a big part of the culture of our schools, and a lot of planning has gone into bringing them back," said Surrey Secondary Schools Athletic Association president Courtney O'Brien, who is a vice-principal at Clayton Heights Secondary. "We always collaborate with athletic directors and coaches, but now we've worked with people from different parts of the community and the district and other districts to see what's working well and how we can provide a safe return to sports for kids."

Surrey Elementary Schools Athletic Association president Scott McIndoe said sports offer a significant opportunity for students to bond outside of the classroom, which was limited last year to health and safety concerns. With the removal of cohorts, for example, his students at Crescent Park Elementary have had a chance to compete against students from other schools. Their first volleyball game, he said, was particularly special.

"To actually have other kids from another school, I'd say the first 20 minutes felt like the Twilight Zone – the kids were like, 'Is this real again?'" he recalled with a laugh. "But they were really excited, it was great to see."

Another significant change this year involves spectators, with capacity limits at secondary sports functions (up to 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater), and the absence of spectators at elementary sports, except outdoors.

"Because secondary schools are larger, there is more space for spectators," said health and safety officer Vanessa Ezaki. "They might have dedicated bleachers to hold all those people, whereas in elementary gyms, there isn't as much room for parents and visitors."

Fans must also follow visitor protocols, including daily health checks, wearing masks, frequent hand hygiene and respecting others' personal space.

The Lord Tweedsmuir junior varsity football team gets a pep talk during one of this season's games.

McIndoe and O'Brien both said their students missed the camaraderie that comes with team sports, and they are excited to play together again now with extracurriculars back and provincial championships starting up.

"They cheer each other on," said McIndoe. "Being able to share that excitement with students outside your classroom, especially at the Grade 6 and 7 level, it's so important to have that community."

"Everyone's just happy to be back, seeing kids back in the gym, having a good time," said O'Brien. "I think we've done the best that we can and the kids and parents are appreciative.

"We're in a good place and I hope things continue this way."

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