Students from Surrey and Delta have showcased their scientific knowledge at the South Fraser Regional Science Fair.
The 123 students from grades 7-12 presented 88 projects, with eight gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals handed out for junior, intermediate and senior projects. The eight gold medal winners will advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in May.
“The quality and originality of projects at this year’s fair were very high,” says chief judge Karen Morley. “Many judges commented that they were among the best they had ever judged at our fair.”
More than $11,000 was awarded in cash and scholarships at the competition, which attracts some of the most talented student scientists from the two school districts.
(Cedar Hills Elementary student Tayyib Chohan with his experiment The Real Asthmatic Attack)
Cedar Hills Elementary student Tayyib Chohan, 13, was among the Surrey students attending. He brought along his experiment, The Real Asthmatic Attack, which proved asthma has a negative effect on cognition.
Also at the fair was Semiahmoo Secondary student Natasha Burgert, 13. Her experiment, Testing a Gut Feeling, showed a non-rinse disinfectant will regain its toxicity when introduced into a low-pH environment, such as human stomachs.
(Semiahmoo Secondary student Natasha Burgert with her experiment Testing a Gut Feeling)
The South Fraser Regional Science Fair is jointly sponsored by the Surrey and Delta school districts, Kwantlen Polytechnic and Simon Fraser universities, Advanced Systems Integrators, Southpointe Academy and the Science Fair Foundation of BC.
A Surrey Schools teacher has been recognized for her engaging project work that takes students out of their textbooks and into field studies.
L.A. Matheson teacher Annie Ohana received the Shakti Award of Excellence for Academic Achievement at the 13th annual awards event held by the Shakti Society of British Columbia. Ohana teaches social justice and French, and she is the school’s Aboriginal Program department head.
The Shakti Awards were founded by Sonia Andhi to recognize the work and efforts of women in the community.
Semiahmoo Secondary’s Project Green and Hyland Elementary’s Green Team are winners of the 2015 BC Green Games.
They were two of 22 winners province-wide in the Science World competition that celebrates new or on-going projects committed to environmental stewardship.
Hyland received $1,000 dollars for being one of ten winners in the elementary category, plus $500 for coming second in the viewers’ choice primary category. (Hyland Elementary’s Green Team)
The Green Team began its work at a creek that runs behind the school, clearing up trash to improve the area for animals and people. They received mentorship from the City of Surrey’s Partners in Parks program, which supplied tongs, bio-degradable bags and other support.
With help from the Friends Uniting for Nature (FUN) Society, the team hosted a book swap to teach fellow students that second hand books are as good as new ones and will save trees from being turned into books. They also held an Earth Day Craft Fair in 2014 to educate fellow students about self-sustainability and enjoying privileges without exploiting them.
This is the second successive year Semiahmoo Secondary has won at the BC Green Games. The school’s environmental club, Earthworks, led Project Green. The club’s students, who range from grades 8 through 12, genuinely care about their environment, says Nola Accili, the teacher in charge.
“The Earthworks kids are so happy that all their hard work has once again been recognized,” says Accili. “Receiving another grant this year will allow the club more opportunities to pursue projects that they hope will inspire others to want to make a difference.” (Semiahmoo Secondary’s Earthworks group)
Semiahmoo Secondary now has composting bins for organic waste and Earthworks members spent their lunchtimes beside them showing fellow students how to use them correctly. They also expanded the school’s recycling program to include metals and glass.
The students held animal-themed months to help spread awareness about endangered species, creating posters and holding weekly trivia events to spark our classmates' interests in the creature. The school is also competing in the district’s Energy Conservation Cup and holding a water week to reduce water use.
Thanks to generous grants, Semiahmoo’s greenhouse has been upgraded as the group works with the culinary program to create a sustainable garden that can provide more fresh food for the school.
Students and staff in Surrey secondary schools have been working hard over the past five months to achieve great reductions in energy consumption.
They have cut energy use in the schools by 9.5 per cent compared to baselines that use historical data from a similar timeframe. Leading the way was Semiahmoo, with a 20.4 per cent saving that equates to 98,730 kWh – enough energy to power 150 refrigerators for an entire year.
Now, 15 of them are preparing to compete in a one-week final push to save even more energy and win the coveted Surrey Schools Energy Conservation Cup.
The cup is awarded on the basis of energy savings made during the five-month period from November through March, conservation activities throughout the year, and the Energy Conservation Cup final week from April 13 to 17.
Among those secondary schools hoping to challenge Semiahmoo for the cup are North Surrey, which reduced its energy consumption between November and March by 18.7 per cent, or 93,540 kWh, Fleetwood Park (17.5 per cent, 87,910 kWh) and Elgin Park (16.7 per cent, 84,690 kWh).
Students are already getting creative in their attempts to save energy. North Surrey Secondary has themed events planned for the entire cup final week with Cordless Monday, Cool Caf Tuesday, Warm Sweater Wednesday, Turn if Off Thursday and Black-Out Friday.
Pulse Energy’s monitoring program will track the schools’ progress and provide a visual guide students can follow.
The Energy Conservation Cup is just one part of Surrey Schools efforts to help the environment and save the district money by cutting energy use.
Last month, through a campaign called “Turn it off before you take off”, the district encouraged staff to turn off and unplug electrical items over spring break. Their efforts contributed a significant portion of the eight per cent reduction in electricity use by the district in spring break 2015 compared to the same recess in 2014. That reduction saved the district $15,000 in two weeks.
They are traffic safety warnings with a twist – handmade notes by Surrey Schools students urging parents and drivers to "Think of Me".
Surrey RCMP are handing them out to for a second successive year along with tickets for breaking traffic safety rules in school zones. Police issued hundreds of the notes and dozens of violation tickets for various traffic safety infractions in school zones during the 2014 campaign.
In 2015, the “Think of Me” education and enforcement campaign began after spring break outside H.T. Thrift Elementary School.
“While the nature of the event, as well as the colourful and creative warnings are fun to do, the message is a very serious one: we all need to remember the potential for tragedy from even a moment of inattention while driving, particularly around elementary schools,” says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson. “I thank the Surrey RCMP, ICBC, H.T. Thrift Elementary and our district’s Community-Schools Partnership department for their support of the Think of Me campaign.”
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said it was a great opportunity to involve students, school staff and parents in raising awareness about the vigilance drivers must have when travelling through school zones and everywhere else.
For more safety tips and information, visit the Road Safety section of the Surrey RCMP’s website. Additionally, ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to BC schools to help students learn about road safety using fun and interactive activities.
Surrey Schools students have cooked their way to all three medals in the culinary category of the Lower Fraser Valley Regional Skills Competition.
Guildford Learning Centre’s Cheyenne Shouting won gold, while Charlotte Afoakwa, of L.A. Matheson, and Bryan Swartz, of Semiahmoo, took silver and bronze respectively in the contest held at L.A. Matheson Secondary.
(Cheyenne Shouting, with her gold medal and certificate, is pictured with chef Dennis Green.)
Shouting’s win increases to 13 the number of district students eligible to compete at the Skills Canada BC provincial competition at the Tradex Centre, Abbotsford, on April 15.
The latest medals, when added to the 44 won at the regional events held in March, bring the total number of regional medals won by students at Surrey Schools to 47.
Surrey Schools has won Simon Fraser University's $50,000 Cmolik Prize for innovative educational practices in K-12 schools in British Columbia.
The district won for its Making Learning Visible: a 360° transformation initiative, which uses technology to record student learning through photos, video and notation. The results create a digital portfolio of student work that is shared with parents and reviewed with the student.
“The goal is to engage and empower both while extending learning and support beyond the classroom,” says Robyn Thiessen, a Green Timbers Elementary teacher and one of the winning entry’s co-authors.
To date, classrooms in 35 of the district’s schools are using the tool the district developed with Kelowna-based company FreshGrade to provide parents with digital portfolios of their children’s learning. Parents in schools where the initiative is being used can follow their child’s progress on a daily basis without waiting for a report card, allowing them to see areas of success or those requiring support. This allows quicker response to individual learning needs. Parents and students can also more readily become part of the solution and work in collaboration with the teacher.
“The use of a digital portfolio fosters student engagement in learning by allowing students to choose evidence and artifacts that illustrate their personal growth. Students then create action plans to improve their growth,” says Thiessen.
There continues to be great demand by teachers in the district to participate in the program. There has also been interest expressed across Canada and internationally in learning more about the Surrey Schools initiative.
The Surrey Schools entry was picked ahead of 27 others for the inaugural Cmolik Prize for the Enhancement of Public Education in British Columbia.
In addition to Thiessen, the co-authors of Surrey Schools’ entry were Jordan Tinney, superintendent of schools; Elisa Carlson, director of instruction, education services; Dan Turner, director, information management services and Antonio Vendramin, principal, Cambridge Elementary.
Surrey students returned from the annual Lower Fraser Valley Regional Skills Competition with a haul of 44 medals – including bronze for two elementary students.
Evan McMartin and Colton Hammersley of Laronde Elementary claimed bronze in the Sumo Robot competition, a category where gold and silver went to Princess Margaret Secondary students Aaron Cronwell and Brant Jerace respectively.
Around 130 Surrey Schools students took part in the competition hosted at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s trades campus in Cloverdale and in several secondary schools. The competition celebrates and rewards students for excellence in their mastery of trade and technology skills that are relevant to employers’ needs.
“All competitors displayed a fine degree of sportsmanship and showcased their remarkable skills”, says Susan Chow, principal of career education at Surrey Schools. “A special mention goes to our student medalists from Laronde Elementary School. We hope to see more students from elementary schools participate and compete in future regional skills competitions.”
With the culinary category still to take place, the district already has 14 gold, 12 silver and 18 bronze medals from the 14 categories judged so far.
The gold medalists from the secondary categories will now have opportunity to advance to the Skills Canada BC provincial competition at the Tradex Centre, Abbotsford, on April 15.
The students who won gold are:
Surrey Schools joins the City of Surrey in pursuing a “Power-Free Hour” this Friday and promoting International Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28.
Earth Hour takes place 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Saturday to promote awareness of climate change and power conservation. During that hour, people are encouraged to pursue activities that require no power generation. Some examples include turning off all the lights and going for a walk with a friend, reading a book or playing a board game by candlelight, or just star-gazing.
Community events are also being organized for Earth Hour and you can organize one or look up one to join www.earthhour.org.
Staff throughout the school district and the City of Surrey are also being encouraged to participate in Power-Free Hour on Friday, March 27, between noon and 1 p.m. by turning off all unnecessary lights and electronics and perhaps having a “lights out lunch” with colleagues.
Registration for Summer School in Surrey opens in April and this year full credit courses will also be available at Queen Elizabeth Secondary.
This takes the number of locations in Surrey offering full credit courses in July and August for grades 10 through 12 up to five. The other locations are Clayton Heights, Earl Marriott, North Surrey and Princess Margaret secondary schools.
In addition, remedial programs for students in grades 8 through 11 who have failed one or two subjects will be available at Clayton Heights, Earl Marriott and Queen Elizabeth secondary schools.
Also on offer for students entering Grade 10 is Skills Exploration 10, which gives them an opportunity to experience the construction trades of carpentry, electrical, plumbing and welding.
Registration for Summer School opens online for Surrey Schools students in grade 11 and 12 on April 3. Online and in-person registration for all current Surrey Schools students opens April 11. Online registration at www.adulted36.ca and in-person registration at the District Education Centre both close June 26.
Visit the Summer School web pages for more information on the courses available and how to apply.