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This year marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day, and to celebrate, the district has partnered with the City of Surrey, the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA) and other stakeholders to showcase a virtual event for students, teachers and parents.
On June 21, schools are encouraged to join a livestream from 10:50 to 11:30 a.m. on the FRAFCA Facebook page and YouTube channel. Hosted by the Katzie, Kwantlen and Semiahmoo First Nations, the event will feature a cultural performance, during which classes are encouraged to provide feedback by commenting on Facebook Live and YouTube in real time.
Students will later be able to watch the rest of the livestream with their families at home, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., honouring Indigenous people of the past, present and future, and sharing their history, spirit, experiences, stories, songs, art and dances.
"Students will get a taste of it and hopefully they'll go home and encourage their family to watch the rest of it online," said Juanita Coltman, District Principal with the Aboriginal Learning department. "Quite a few teachers are interested in having their class be part of this – it's going to be a great event."
Surrey Schools currently has about 3,100 Indigenous students in the district. Lyn Daniels, the Director of Instruction with the Aboriginal Learning department, said the proclamation of National Indigenous People's Day in 1996 marks the acceptance of Aboriginal and Indigenous identities, allowing First Nations across Canada to be themselves.
"Having a day reminds Canadians that the country was not settled by Europeans, it was settled by Indigenous people," she said. "We've been here since time immemorial and it feels really freeing to be allowed to be who we are. It sounds strange, but that is a very important acknowledgement."
Other partners in the event include the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Surrey RCMP.
In addition to National Indigenous People's Day, the Aboriginal Learning department invites students to participate in other Indigenous celebrations throughout the year, with more information and resources available at bit.ly/AbEdCalendar
"Our Indigenous Connections poster identifies something to do with Indigenous people every month of the school year and explains the history of National Indigenous People's Day," said Daniels. "It has all kinds of plans you can do to recognize the day."
For more information on this year's virtual celebration, visit surrey.ca/NIPD
Full-time in-class instruction and the elimination of cohorts are on the horizon for the 2021-22 school year as the Ministry of Education announced Thursday an anticipated "near-normal return" to school life for students, parents, teachers and staff in September with its K-12 Recovery Plan.
"Our students, parents and staff have waited a long time for this moment, and we are excited to see a return to a more normal way of life in our classrooms, our schools and our communities," said Surrey Board of Education Chair Laurie Larsen. "It is because of their hard work, effort and vigilance throughout the past year that the province is able to make this announcement today, and we thank you for your dedication to the health and safety of everyone in our schools."
As the B.C. Restart Plan continues to unfold amid high vaccination rates and low school-based transmissions, the provincial government announced that students across the province can expect to learn in classrooms full time and no longer be grouped into cohorts.
Guidance on mask usage in school settings will be determined later this summer, in alignment with broader provincial direction for the fall and winter. Students will still be required to practice frequent hand hygiene, complete daily health checks and stay home if they are feeling sick. Public health teams and school health officers will continue to monitor and track COVID-19 cases in schools and the community, and provide support and guidance with the return in the fall.
In the summer, the provincial K-12 education steering committee, the Ministry and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) will review and finalize school safety plans for the fall. The current Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings will be replaced by updated guidelines in August.
For more information, please see the following links:
With summer break fast approaching, Surrey Schools is gearing up for our comprehensive summer learning program for the 2021 summer session, featuring both in-person and online learning.
The delivery model for our elementary and smaller specialized programs will involve full-time face-to-face learning, while our secondary academic and remedial programs will be a combination of face-to-face and online learning. Students will receive their schedules and classroom expectations from their classroom teachers prior to the start of each program. (The delivery models are subject to change due to circumstances regarding COVID-19 or changes to provincial health guidelines which could include full online learning if the health protocols dictate).
Registration is open until June 28 for Surrey Schools' Summer Learning full credit academic courses for Grade 10-12 students, as well as remedial courses for Grades 8-11. Full credit courses are for students looking to get ahead or retake a course, while remedial courses contain partial course content and are only for students who have taken the course already and want to increase their knowledge or improve their mark. Remedial courses are graded on a scale with a maximum mark of 80%.
This year's offerings include the following subjects at various grades:
Not all courses are available at all sites. When registering, students will have the opportunity to associate their course with one of the following Summer School Sites:
Students will also have hands-on learning opportunities with four programs to teach new skills: Skills in Automotive at Frank Hurt Secondary, Skills in Culinary Arts at Enver Creek Secondary, Skills in Trades at Princess Margaret Secondary and Skills in Drafting at L.A. Matheson Secondary. The goal is to expose our learners to different vocations and spark interest for further trade studies.
K-7 students may attend summer learning by staff referral for courses on Literacy & Numeracy, Early French Immersion and Late French Immersion. More information is available from your classroom teacher or school principal.
For additional information and to register for secondary courses, click here. Registration closes June 28 at 8 a.m.
Please direct any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Six Grade 5 White Rock Elementary students, who call themselves the Losers Club, have won this year's Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) Reading Link Challenge, an annual competition for Grade 4 & 5 students to test their knowledge and retention of select books against teams from across the Fraser Valley.
The Losers Club, named after an Andrew Clements book of the same name, beat 3,784 students from 259 other teams across 11 different library systems to take home the trophy. The team was made up of students Lucy, Ria, Angelica, Sylvya, Sophia and Kamryn.
Every year, a committee selects six books for participating students to read and study, starting in late September. Students are then quizzed in spring, competing against peers and other students both in and out of their district. Each challenge presents three sets of 10 questions, of easy, medium, and hard difficulty levels, about the content of each book.
"Whoever is the best team from their school moves on to compete against other teams that the public library looks after, and the best one from there represents their community at the Fraser Valley challenge," explained White Rock Library's Jean Smith. "The top two teams go on to compete with all the other teams from the 10 other library systems.
"And out of all that, The Losers Club came out on top."
This year's books included The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson, Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein, Life According to Og the Frog, by Betty G. Birney, Sled Dog School by Terry Lynn Johnson, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage and Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones.
White Rock Elementary teacher-librarian Lorraine Nygaard said the students treated reading as a sport, challenging themselves to learn the books from cover to cover as they moved through each round.
"Once they left the school level for the regional level, they were very focused and passionate about winning," she said. "They really trained – they would come into the library at lunchtime and take notes. I believe one of the girls read each of the books nine times."
Nygaard said the Losers Club tied with the other remaining team after 30 questions in the final round, resulting in an overtime set of 10 questions. Despite some remarkably obscure questions, White Rock Elementary eked out the victory, becoming the first team to win under the White Rock Library umbrella.
"We're very excited and very proud of them," said Smith. "It's great to have this connection to the school and see their love of reading."
Congratulations to the Losers Club on your hard-earned Reading Link Challenge victory!
In recognition of all the hard work, effort and sacrifices that our school communities have made over the past year, Superintendent Jordan Tinney has penned a blog post thanking our many students, parents and staff as the district approaches a light at the end of the tunnel with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on the past school year, Tinney recounts the district's first COVID-19 exposure on the first day of school, the dedication of teachers in the face of risk, the faith of parents in the safety of our schools and the adaptation of students at all grade levels to unordinary measures for health protocols, learning cohorts, graduation ceremonies and beyond.
Now, as 75% of eligible B.C. residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, and the provincial government prepares to lift more restrictions heading into Phase 2 of the Restart Plan, Tinney shares an optimism as we all look toward a return to a more hopeful, grateful reality, and offers thanks to each and every person in our school community who has made this possible.
For all that you've done, and continue to do, thank you.
To read the full blog post please click here.
Simon Fraser University is inviting Surrey Schools students and staff to participate in Beyond COVID: Reimagining Our City Centres, a free interactive online dialogue to discuss and share ideas for restoring and revitalizing Surrey's city centre in the wake of the pandemic.
The online event takes place Tuesday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to noon and aims to address the current uncertainty of when cities will reopen, as well as identifying how they will reopen as time goes on. The event is part of a series hosted virtually and will have additional sessions for Vancouver and Burnaby's city centres.
The dialogue is being hosted by the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, SFU Public Square and the university's community and campus partners. All staff, students and residents are invited to join and voice their ideas for revitalizing Surrey as B.C. enters each phase of its Restart Plan.
The event is free to attend and no experience is necessary. Imagination and creativity is encouraged.
Participants must register via Eventbrite and will be sent a link and password to join the event. Closed captioning will be available.
To fully engage in the event, it is recommended participants have a laptop, computer or smartphone with a webcam, microphone, speakers and/or headphones.
The schedule is as follows:
Vancouver: Monday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Surrey: Tuesday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Burnaby: Wednesday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Register today: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/beyond-covid-reimagining-our-city-centres-tickets-156959136001
Sixty-one students in the district, including Jacob de Sousa (above) and Isaac Marcoux (below), both from South Surrey-White Rock Learning Centre, received 2021 Youth Work in Trades Awards.
More than five dozen Surrey Schools students earned a $1,000 Youth Work in
Trades Award this year.
The award is given to students for "sustained and exceptional work"
as an apprentice in a variety of trades.
This year, 61 students from 23 schools representing 12 different trades were
given the award.
Due to the pandemic, a group celebration was not possible, so students were presented their awards individually. Congratulations to all!
The number of cases of COVID-19 in the Surrey School District has decreased dramatically over the last month, thanks to high staff and community vaccination uptake and the continued vigilance of staff and students in following health and safety protocols.
COVID-19 cases continue to decline provincewide, with 74% of adults over 18 and 39% of youth aged 12 to 17 having received their first vaccine dose. District figures mirror the encouraging downward trend in the community.
Early notification, self-monitoring and student self-isolation letters are all on the decline in our district. Since peaking at 375 exposure notices issued throughout the month of April, the district has seen a steady decrease, dropping to 245 in May and just 19 in the first nine days of June.
Likewise, the number of self-monitoring letters dropped from 697 in April to 421 in May and 39 for the same period in June. Class isolation letters also slowed down from 67 in April to 37 in May and just two so far in June.
More than 90% of Surrey Schools staff have received their first dose of the vaccine, with second doses currently rolling out. More information about second doses is available on the B.C. government's Vaccination and Immunization website. Anyone who hasn't received their first dose or is awaiting their second, should ensure they are registered at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca.
Fraser Health has also provided the following guides for registration and vaccination, with translations available in more than two dozen languages.
Three Surrey students had a great showing at last month's Canada Wide Science Fair, taking home a combined seven awards in the national competition with their ingenious projects.
Timothy Cai of Fraser Heights Secondary, Robin Yadav of Queen Elizabeth Secondary and Nathan Yeung of SAIL each received awards for their projects, which showcased homemade versions of scaled-down commercial rockets, time management and productivity improvements for students and office staff, and automated drones to combat wildfires.
Cai received an impressive five accolades for his project,
An Investigation into Active Control for Accessible Orbital Flight, including gold in the senior category of the Excellence Awards, as well as the Challenge Award for Curiosity & Ingenuity, the Platinum Award for Innovation, and both the $7,000 and $1,000 Youth Can Innovate Awards.
The Grade 11 student examined the feasibility of developing smaller, cheaper homemade rockets capable of controlled flight, with the ability? to fly straight as an arrow and land vertically.
Yeung was awarded silver in the junior category of the Excellence Awards for
Hyperfocus: A New Kind of Timer. The SAIL student designed an online timer for synced group sessions that holds teammates accountable when working remotely. The use of a shared timer creates a psychological motivation to avoid procrastination and finish work under the same deadlines.
Yadav received bronze in the senior category of the Excellence Awards for
Wildfire Drone Automation Using Deep Learning. The QE senior experimented with deep learning to train a drone to recognize fire and fly along a fire front in a simulation. The goal of his project is to provide firefighters a safer way to detect and fight wildfires while also more effectively increasing emergency response time and reducing the spread of wildfires.
Congratulations to all of our Canada Wide Science Fair winners!
On May 28th, Tk’emlúps te Secwé pemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C. announced the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried at the site of what was once a residential school. In response to this heartbreaking announcement, the Surrey Aboriginal Education Council called a special meeting to discuss our district’s response, and what steps we should take in support.
As we listened to the stories and experiences of those on the Council, the trauma of residential schools and their impact came forth in many ways. It was stated that every Indigenous person has had their lives touched in some way by residential schools, and the enormity of this grief will not pass quickly.
As we listened to the individual experiences of our Council members, there was a shared belief that this may only be the start of further discoveries at sites across Canada. This thought, along with the discovery of the findings in Kamloops, serves as a difficult reminder for survivors of residential schools and their families, of the hurt and intergenerational trauma they have endured. Members shared that for many Indigenous People, this has brought forward painful memories, and has forced them to relive the residential experience all over again.
The Council also shared gratitude to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people for initiating the search and uncovering the truth. A truth that has been spoken about throughout the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but without such irrefutable physical evidence that now stands before us.
We collectively represent our schools as places of learning. We stand together and are committed to continuing to tell the story of the traumatic history of residential schools and their deliberate attempt to eradicate the rich heritage, culture and languages of Indigenous Peoples.
Our community and our schools have been showing their support in many ways. Since June 1st, flags have been flying at half mast and we are encouraging schools to have staff and students wear Orange Shirts, for 215 hours, or nine days.
We know that each person and each school will find their own unique way to show support and we also want all staff to know that there are resources available to support those who continue to grieve. We are also looking toward September 30th, which is the official date of Orange Shirt Day in our schools. We will continue to educate our children and our community about the importance of how residential schools created inter-generational trauma that deeply affects Indigenous Peoples today. We are committed to truth and reconciliation and the sad truth of this recent discovery only empowers us to ensure we reconcile our future with the truth of our past.
And we are grateful to members of our Council, and the Elders, Leaders and families from the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and other Coast Salish Peoples, as well as our Indigenous staff, students and their families who continuously share their voice and their stories with our staff and students and provide their counsel in relation to our programs and services.
We are committed to continuing to work together to reveal and correct miseducation around the shameful legacy of residential schools and the ongoing need for Truth and Reconciliation.
"As a Chief of Semiahmoo First Nation and partner with Surrey Schools, I extend our deepest condolences to the community of Tk’empups te Secwepemc and all the families and communities across Canada that are impacted by the discovery at Kamloops Indian Residential School. My grandfather attended Kamloops Indian Residential School, so this impacts me not only as an Indigenous leader but as a grandchild. This discovery is a harsh reality of the much undiscussed history of Canada and First Nations people and we must work towards meaningful reconciliation not only on a national scale but here in Surrey. I am committed to working with Surrey Schools to build an educational strategy that empowers our land based and urban Indigenous peoples." - Chief Harley Chappel, Semiahmoo First Nation
"I am beyond words for the discovery unearthed in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, and the Kamloops Residential School. It is truly a time of mourning and I feel the collective heart ache. I pray for the families, survivors and all of First Nation people and communities. The darkness of Canadian history is no shock to our people, or surprise to us, we live it, we endure it, we survive it. The genocidal history will continue to unfold, and our prayers will get stronger, and our voices louder. This is only one school out of 139 in Canada. The Creator has a way of turning over the pathway we need to walk when the time is right, I trust the walk. It’s time to mourn, sing our songs, pray in our way, use our sacred medicines, use our love to pick each other up, use our compassion to hold each other up. We stand in solidarity and share the heart ache, and grief with the survivors and all those we have lost." - Chief Grace George, Katzie First Nation
"The entire Métis Nation BC Board of Directors stands with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc through these difficult and challenging times. Residential schools and their history remain an open wound in Indigenous communities across this country. While painful, uncovering the truth remains vital for reconciliation." - Lissa Dawn Smith, Métis Nation BC, Acting President
"Like everyone in our community of Kamloops, I was shocked and abhorred to see that the remains of 215 children were found at the site of a former residential school. It saddens and pains me to know these children were taken from their home an never returned. The anguish their families must have felt. The pain of this news is real and hits home, as my mother, who is a proud Métis woman, was forced into these schools. She, like many other Indigenous children, could have met the same fate. This institution was sanctioned by our government and the Catholic Church. How many more of our children lay in unmarked graves? We still have so much healing to do in this country." - Dean Gladue, Métis Nation BC, Director for Region 3 (Thompson–Okanagan)
"We the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA) extend love and support to the Elders, families and communities impacted by the Canadian Residential School System. The Tk’emlups community confirmed findings of 215 children buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. This brings forward the trauma experienced by residential school survivors, families and communities from the insufferable actions of the Canadian government." - Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association
"On behalf of Kwantlen First Nation, we are so very saddened and wish to express our deepest condolences to the community of Tk’empups te Secwepemc at this time. In hearing of this news, we have been actively engaged in sacred, spiritual work to honour all of the dear little ones who never made it back home. All of our families have been so deeply impacted, we know first hand the impacts are multi-generational and run very deep. Most of our Elders from Kwantlen attended residential schools throughout B.C. -- in Mission (St. Mary’s), Kuper Island, Vancouver Island, North Vancouver (St. Paul’s) and Lytton (St. George’s) and some of our Kwantlen families we know also attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Many others attended residential day schools. We also know of Kwantlen students who attended and never returned home. The legacy of these schools to our families is devastating, and if anything, people learning and understanding more about this legacy so that it can never be repeated is important and necessary. We are doing what we can now to heal and support our families in their journeys through and forward from this legacy. The strength and resilience of our people, our Elders and ancestors is truly an inspiration from which to continue to heal. Our thoughts, love and prayers are with everyone affected." - Chief Marilyn Gabriel, Kwantlen First Nation
"May all that's hidden be revealed. As we reel from the heart breaking discovery of 215 children in a mass grave at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C., we recommit our efforts to supporting our Indigenous neighbours, working to provide safe and secure communities as we face these atrocities together and heal from the trauma of the Indian Residential School System. We urge you to look out for your elders, as they battle painful memories as they resurface.
KUU-US Crisis Line Society: First Nations and Aboriginal specific 24/7 crisis line based in Port Alberni and serving the entire province.
Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266. Answered by staff 24/7. Available throughout Canada and US.
Youth in BC: visit www.youthinbc.com for youth resources or chat with a counsellor online. You can also call 1-866-661-3311 (toll-free in BC).
"We honour the lives of all those lost, to addictions, mental health and to death." - Kekinow Native Housing Society