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Feb 27
​“A day that brings everyone together”

Students across the district came together in their schools on Pink Shirt Day to take a stand against bullying.

Pink Shirt Day, which in B.C. is held on February 25 each year, originated from two Nova Scotia high school students taking a stand against bullying in their own school.

At Clayton Heights Elementary, students, staff and the RCMP handed out pink cotton candy to students who wore something pink for the day.
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(Pink Shirt Day at Clayton Heights Secondary)

“We like to do things that create a positive culture in school,” says leadership department head Sarah Daintry. “We chose cotton candy because it’s fluffy and fun.”

The leadership students organized the event and the other students gave it their support.

“Pink Shirt Day is a great cause because bullying is something everyone experiences,” says Grade 11 student Taylor Mackie. “Whether its online or in person it’s got to stop.”

Fellow Grade 11 leadership student Lauren Bayer adds: “It’s a day that brings everyone together.”

At Fleetwood Park Secondary, BC Lions players Adam Bighill and Courtney Taylor wore pink arm bands to mark the day when they talked to the students about Lions Pride, a program which encourages youngsters to set goals and make positive choices.

There was great excitement at Dr. F.D. Sinclair Elementary as talented Canadian freestyle skateborders showed off their skills and talked about not calling people unwelcome names.
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(Dillanger Kane performs a trick at Dr. F.D. Sinclair Elementary)

To give the presentation, Kevin Harris, Canada’s first professional skateboarder and holder of the world record for the two board 360’s trick, was joined by Canadian professional Ryan Brynelson, who is the Japanese freestyle champion and 2013 amateur world number one. With them were Andy Anderson, the world’s third best amateur freestyler, Dillanger Kane, the world number seven, skateboard competition organizer Mike Faux and RCMP Const. Troy Derrick.

Principal Derek Lam says they were positive role models for the students. “They came in to talk about specific strategies to deal with their peers when conflict arises in the playground,” Lam adds.
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(From left: Kevin Harris, Andy Anderson, Mike Faux, Dillanger Kane, Ryan Brynelson and Const. Troy Derrick)

Feb 23
New early learning program for families

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A new early learning program has been launched that brings Surrey Schools out to the community.

The Early Learning for Families drop-in sessions at the City Central mall focus on parent engagement, literacy, community connections and fun. The program connects families to community resources and supports healthy childhood development.

Pat Horstead, the assistant superintendent who oversees the Community-Schools Partnership department that delivers Early Learning for Families, says the program allows the district to reach out to parents who don’t attend the school-based StrongStart

“We thought, if they’re not coming to us, we would go to them and show them what we offer and connect them with services,” she says. “We know that when children have an early experience of education they do better at school and have a better chance of success.”
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(Pictured at the official launch of Early Learning for Families are (from left): Matthew Grant, SFU Surrey; Pat Horstead, Surrey Schools, Chindu Das, United Way, Steve Dooley, SFU Surrey; Natalie Robinson and Sukh Shergill, both Community-Schools Partnership)

The district has partnered with Simon Fraser University’s Surrey–TD Community Engagement Centre and Central City managers Blackwood Partners Central City to deliver the program.

“Collectively, we hope to encourage families who might not yet have the opportunity to engage with existing programs at Surrey Schools to take part in this program and others in the district,” says Matthew Grant, associate director of marketing, communications and partnerships at SFU Surrey.

Early Learning for Families sessions will be held at City Central Shopping Centre (by the elevator outside Winners) between 10 a.m. and noon on the first and third Wednesday of each month during the school year.

Feb 20
Third of a century for jazz festival

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The Envision Financial Jazz Festival celebrated its 33rd year by adding a fourth performance area for the approximately 2,000 students who attend.

The library at Sullivan Heights Secondary joined the gym, the band room and main auditorium at the Bell Performing Arts Centre as venues in which the students could demonstrate their ability.

Performances by school bands from across the Pacific North West – including three from Washington State and one from Vancouver Island – were complemented by workshop sessions, expert judging and performances by adult jazz musicians.

Superintendent Jordan Tinney says the festival is an important event for Surrey Schools. “Whenever we are able to showcase the kind of musical excellence we nurture and produce, we are reminded of the exceptional talent being developed in our schools."

The festival concludes with the showcase finals on the evening of February 21.

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Feb 19
Campaigning student wins major scholarship

​A Johnston Heights Secondary student has won a prestigious scholarship worth up to $100,000 over four years.

Anthony Hope was one of just 30 students named Loran Scholars from 3,800 applicants across Canada. His success matches that of Shakti Ramkumar, the Kwantlen Park student who was named a Loran Scholar last year.

“I was proud of myself and it was a huge honour, but a shock for me as well,” says Anthony. “Everyone at the interviews and at all stages – they were amazing people that have achieved a lot. Being part of that company is really overwhelming.”

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Anthony graduated a semester early from Johnston Heights and is now finalizing his choice of university and program. He is looking at studying either International Relations or International Development Studies as a prelude to his longer term ambition to do fieldwork for a non-governmental organization in South America.

He will take with him campaigning experience gained while a student in Surrey Schools. Spurred into action by a friend in New York taking their own life for being gay, Anthony surveyed hundreds of his fellow students and created a list of recommendations which ultimately lead to the Surrey Board of Education adopting a new anti-homophobia policy.

Anthony has also been involved in a mural project called Surrey Appreciates Me and co-founded a weekly school breakfast program with a friend after applying for a grant from the Vancouver Sun.

He credits part of his success in achieving the scholarship to the supporting and nurturing environment he experienced in the district. “I wouldn’t have got the scholarship nor had the experience without that network and that community,” he says.

The independent young man also credits the support of family and friends, and says overcoming adversity helped build his character.

Johnston Heights principal Sheila Hammond isn’t surprised by Anthony’s success, saying his student survey and his report that came from it were pretty remarkable given he was only 14 at the time.

“He got my thinking going as a Grade 9 student and he has grown over the years,” she adds.

Hammond says his success also reflects the way the school looks at the larger, global community in a variety of ways, including through the leadership program Anthony was involved in.

The Loran Scholars Foundation says it selects scholars on their character, commitment to service and leadership potential through a rigorous and personalized three-month selection process that includes interviews at the regional and national level.

Another Surrey Schools student, Joyce Yang from Fleetwood Park Secondary, participated in Vancouver regional interviews and received an honour citation.

Feb 17
Changes to school calendar approved

​The Surrey Board of Education has approved changes to the published school calendars for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

A non-instructional day originally scheduled for February 26, 2016, has been moved to February 19, 2016 and a non-instructional day scheduled for February 24, 2017, has moved to February 17, 2017.

Feb 10
FitKid Coach a winner

​A program developed by a Surrey Schools teacher to improve children’s health and teach leadership skills has been named a national challenge winner.

FitKid Coach, which trains teachers and students to become fitness ambassadors, was the brainchild of helping teacher Glenn Young. The program was one of 13 Canadian initiatives – one from each province and territory – declared a winner of the Play Exchange’s Active at School Challenge. Federal health minister Rona Ambrose announced the winners, which will each receive $3,000 to help implement their ideas in schools.

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(Surrey Schools physical education helping teacher Glenn Young demonstrates one of the exercises students use in FitKid Coach)

Through FitKid Coach, the student fitness ambassadors lead classmates through a specifically designed physical activity circuit. The ambassadors help the students develop healthy habits and positive attitudes about fitness.

Over the past eight years, the FitKid Coach program has expanded to 25 Surrey schools, building engaged communities where a culture of physical activity is valued, leadership skills are learned and transferable athletic skills are developed.

Jan 30
Choice program conversation to move to new phase on PlaceSpeak

​Surrey Schools will soon be asking a new set of questions as the district’s choice program consultation through PlaceSpeak continues.

The district is reviewing choice programs such as Traditional and French Immersion. The consultation process began early in January by inviting parent’s views on how, or whether choice programs are meeting student and community needs. The input also helped shape board discussions with parent representatives at annual board forums.

In February, Surrey Schools will build on the earlier feedback by seeking more focused public input on these four questions:

  1. What are the strengths of our current offerings of programs of choice?
  2. What challenges exist to our current offerings?
  3. What changes would you make to our current offerings and how would you suggest this be done?
  4. What obstacles might exist to making the changes you suggest?

As another resource to assist deliberations, the district is making available the slides presented to parent representatives at the board forums.

Your views are welcomed and it’s easy to contribute to the discussion using the PlaceSpeak public consultation tool.

Jan 28
Have your say on the 2015-16 budget

​The Surrey Board of Education is inviting submissions regarding its program and service priorities as it considers its 2015-16 operating budget.

Each year, the board works to sustain priority programs and services that support students across the district. However, as in previous years, the district’s needs outpace the funds it will receive in government grants. This means difficult choices have to be made to ensure student needs are met in the best way, while balancing the budget.

Surrey Schools’ Understanding School District Finances guide provides an overview of where the money comes from and goes to. It also explains some of the budget issues facing the board.

The board meets with community organizations, employee groups and parents, including the Surrey District Parent Advisory Council, to discuss challenges in the budget and obtain input.

Other community members are welcome to submit ideas, questions and suggestions regarding board budget priorities by email to budget@surreyschools.ca before 4 p.m. on February 27, 2015. Submissions can also be made by writing to Secretary-Treasurer Wayne Noye, at School District No.36, 14033 92 Ave. Surrey, B.C.

Jan 26
Online choice program applications open for three weeks

​Online applications for the Early French Immersion, Intensive Fine Arts, Montessori and Traditional choice programs are now being accepted and a lottery-style draw will take place after the close of applications February 16 for available seats. More details are available on our choice program web pages.

Jan 19
A double double for the Wildcats

Tamanawis Secondary has won its second consecutive Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic double, winning both the senior and junior titles.

The senior Wildcats overpowered the Southridge Storm 73-65 as the school claimed its third title from five consecutive championship game appearances. Consolation for Southridge came from Hunter Hughes being named player of the game for the final.

And the prospects for continued Tamanawis success in Surrey’s premier high school boys’ basketball competition look good with the Wildcats beating the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 62-52 for the junior title. Tamanawis’ Akash Manes was named the game star.

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(The senior Tamanawis Wildcats in action mid-tournament against the Enver Creek Cougars)

The senior Lord Tweedsmuir squad also had a strong performance, taking bronze from Fleetwood Park Dragons with a 69-43 win. The Panthers’ Justin Rudio was player of the game.

Third-place in the juniors went to the Fraser Heights Firehawks 51-46 over the Sullivan Heights Stars. The game star was the Firehawks’ Sumeet Singh.

This was the 24th edition of the classic and the final was played in front of a huge crowd at Enver Creek Secondary.

“It’s great to see such support for this annual event that is so popular with the students, schools, and parents in Surrey,” says Kevin DeBoice, Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic committee co-chair. “I thank everyone who helps make this tournament happen; particularly our partners, the Surrey RCMP.”

Surrey RCMP Inspector Ghalib Bhayani says their officers enjoy taking in the games, seeing young athletes compete and the students cheering each other on.

“What a tremendous tradition this long-standing tournament has become over the years,” he says. “Thanks to the Surrey school district and all those who participated and helped make it another successful event.”

Scholarships will be presented at the All Star Classic at Enver Creek Secondary on March 27, 2015, to deserving athletes who are encouraged to continue their academic studies and athletic careers.

Application information is available from coaches or online at the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic website.

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