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Feb 21
Information: Novel Coronavirus

​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.

On Feb. 20, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a joint statement announcing B.C.'s sixth case of COVID-19 – a woman in her 30's in the Fraser Health region, who recently returned to B.C. from Iran. Please see the joint statement for more information: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0041-000304


Letter to parents from Provincial Health Officer (Feb. 7)


Please note provincial recommendations on travel related, self isolation:

  • The Provincial Health Officer is advising travellers who have been to Hubei province in the last 14 days to limit their contact with others for 14 days (self-isolation, stay at home) following arrival in Canada.

  • The Provincial Health Officer is also advising that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.


Useful Links:

Feb 21
Pink Shirt Day takes Surrey students to new heights

On Wednesday, we wear pink – and show the world how we lift each other up.

Feb. 26 is Pink Shirt Day, and what started as a small show of solidarity at one school in Nova Scotia has since exploded into a nationwide stand against bullying. To date, more than $2.3 million has been distributed to support youth anti-bullying programs in B.C. and throughout Western Canada.

bridgeview-pink shirt day.jpgThis year's theme is "Lift Each Other Up," and schools in Surrey and White Rock are doing exactly that. Students throughout the district are thinking pink and participating in unique events and activities to show their support. Here's a sample:

  • William Watson Elementary has set up a Kindness Tree on a wall in the hallway where students can write pledges of kindness on pink leaves. The school's Pink Shirt Day assembly will also feature a short film by a Grade 3 class that focuses on kindness and a skit by Grade 7s on bullying.
  • Dance teams from Holly Elementary and North Surrey Secondary will be performing a flash mob at Guildford Town Centre near the fountain/elevator at 12:30 p.m.
  • Jessie Lee Elementary students are writing words of kindness on more than 400 pink pieces of paper, to be redistributed randomly on Wednesday morning. The uplifting notes are anonymous so students won't know whose kind words they've received or who received their thoughtful messages.
  • Bridgeview Elementary is gifting each class with a storybook with a strong anti-bullying message, and has a display case promoting the special day (at right).
  • Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary's Gay-Straight Alliance is handing out buttons with phrases like "Be Kind" to students on Wednesday morning. Additionally, the girls leadership group Pink Panthers have original T-shirts for sale, and the student council will be hosting games in the cafeteria for students.

While Pink Shirt Day is just one day out of the year, its message serves as a reminder to exemplify kindness and care towards each other year-round. For more information, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca

Feb 19
Surrey Schools among BC’s Top Employers for 2020

BC Top Employer - 2020 -SurreySchools.jpgSurrey Schools has once again been selected among B.C.'s Top Employers.

This is the fourth time the school district has been recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc. (organizers of the annual Canada's Top 100 Employers competition).

"Our board is particularly proud of this special recognition," said Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurie Larsen. "Trustees believe strongly that our workplaces need to be supportive, welcoming, community-minded and rewarding. Employees who feel valued are, in turn, more fulfilled and inspired as they work toward our common goal of supporting and nurturing students."

Surrey School District is Surrey's largest employer with more than 11,700 employees, including over 6,200 teachers.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the BC's Top Employers competition, a special designation that recognizes employers in the province that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs, using the following criteria:

  • Physical workplace;

  • Work atmosphere & social;

  • Health, financial and family benefits;

  • Vacation and time off;

  • Employee communications;

  • Performance management;

  • Training and skills development, and;

  • Community involvement.

The full list of BC's Top Employers for 2020 was announced Feb. 19 in a special magazine published in the Vancouver Sun. Detailed reasons for selection for each of the winners, with hundreds of stories and photos, were released by the editors today and are accessible via the competition homepage.

See Surrey Schools' recognition page here


Feb 19
Surrey Schools International Jazz Festival hits the stage Feb. 21 & 22

JazzFestival Surrey.JPGJust as the weather outside is getting warmer, music students in Surrey are warming up for this year's Surrey Schools International Jazz Festival, held Feb. 21 and 22 at the Bell Performing Arts Centre.

Heading into its 38th year, the two-day jazz fest is among the largest and longest-running educational music festivals in Canada, showcasing the talents of more than 2,000 secondary students from Surrey and across B.C. and the United States.

The festival also features dozens of scholarships and awards for students, including best musicians on saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, drums, bass, guitar, auxiliary percussion, as well as best rhythm section, musician, band, combo ensemble, vocal jazz soloist and vocal jazz ensemble.

The performances kick off at 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, with daytime concerts in the theatre, gym, band room and library, including a noon performance by the Capilano Vocal Jazz group. Then starting at 7 p.m., the evening will feature the Vocal Jazz Showcase, Junior and Senior Rep Band, award presentations and a performance by BRAZZ, Vancouver's new large brass jazz ensemble.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, the music starts up again at 8 a.m. in the theatre, library and band room, featuring the Capilano A Big Band onstage at 12:25 p.m. Night two caps off with the Junior and Senior Band Showcase and more award presentations in the theatre at 7 p.m.

The Bell Performing Arts Centre is located at 6250 144 St. (at Sullivan Heights Secondary). Admission to all performances is free but the district is also accepting donations for the Surrey Food Bank.

Come out and enjoy the show – and all that jazz!

Feb 18
Comp Sci internships prep Surrey students for ‘career of the future’

Safe Software story - Ryan and Jerry.jpg

Grade 12 Fleetwood Park Secondary students Ryan Chen and Jerry Chen (no relation) stepped out of the classroom and into meaningful computer science internships with Surrey-based tech company Safe Software. The two seniors got eye-opening experience in coding and programming, as part of their school’s comp sci co-op program.


Students in Fleetwood Park Secondary's computer science co-op program are testing their newfound skills in the real world, thanks to internships with local tech companies.

This year, the co-op program has started offering three-week work experiences with Lower Mainland companies, including in Surrey, in which students gain valuable insight to working in the tech industry.

"We wanted to give the students the opportunity to go into work placements and get some experience in tech-related placements," said teacher Brianna Stusiak. "We have some amazing companies that are popping up and so they don't necessarily have to move to Silicon Valley."

The co-op teaches related elements of physics and math to give a more well-rounded understanding of computer science, which proved important for Grade 12 students Ryan Chen and Jerry Chen (no relation). The pair interned together with Safe Software, a Surrey-based company that processes vast amounts of data with more than 400 partners.

"All the skills that are required for a programming job, 99.9% of the skills I have gained in this school," said Ryan. "The work that I've done at Safe Software was related to graphing data, visualizing data, and it just so happened to be we were taught exactly how to do that in Python."

"On the job, it was basically just writing code all day and knowing at least one language," said Jerry. "Also, teaching efficient ways to code. There are many different ways to code and knowing the proper ways and being more efficient – that's something the course has taught me."

Both Ryan and Jerry said their internship with Safe Software taught them about their strengths and weaknesses in programming, and exposed them to seemingly endless career potential in an industry that has more than piqued their interest.

"I've been told by many people that computer science is a career of the future," said Ryan. "This work experience taught me two things: I probably will love a computer science- or programming-related job in the future, and it taught me how important interpersonal, communications and planning skills are in the workforce."

"When my code works, you just get a feeling of self-accomplishment that you can't get anywhere else," said Jerry. "It really sold me on this career path. I've done some research to see if what I did at Safe Software is what a real job looks like and the setting is really the same.

"I think every student should consider computer science as a path for them."

Feb 14
Longtime Surrey music teacher Stephen Horning recognized by trustees

Stephen Horning Surrey board recognition.jpg

Surrey teacher Stephen Horning (centre), with Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen (right), surrounded by members of the Surrey Children's Choir.


The Surrey Board of Education has recognized longtime teacher Stephen Horning for his many years of commitment to Surrey students and invaluable contributions to music education.

Horning has been a music teacher at École Simon Cunningham Elementary for 30 years.

"In that time, he has really made his mark on their music program," said board chair Laurie Larsen at the Feb. 12 public meeting, where Horning was recognized.

Trustees also congratulated Horning on being a recent recipient of the British Columbia Music Educator Association's 2019 Outstanding Educator Award. The provincial award, which he received in late October, recognizes an educator who exemplifies a high standard of achievement and professionalism in music in the public education system.

In addition to teaching, Horning is also director of the community Surrey Children's Choir, which performed at the meeting. Larsen noted that prior to coming to Surrey, Horning taught in Campbell River.

"We are so fortunate that he chose to move and teach in Surrey," she said, congratulating him on the BCMEA award. "It is very well deserved and thank you for all that you do for the students of Surrey."

Horning received a framed certificate and an indigenous carved spoon from the board.

Feb 13
LA Matheson student named Loran Scholar
Govind Deol Loran.jpgOut of more than 5,000 applicants, L.A. Matheson Secondary’s Govind Deol has been selected as one of just 36 Loran Scholars for 2020.

He becomes the fifth Surrey student since 1988 to win the prestigious award, valued at $100,000.

“It’s exciting and I’m excited for the opportunities to come,” said Govind. “Before this, it was all about getting to this point, now there’s a lot to look forward to for the future and still so much to do.”

Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education, said the award was well-earned.  

“The Surrey Board of Education would like to congratulate Govind for this incredible achievement,” said Larsen. “The Loran Scholars Award is one of the most prestigious educational awards in Canada and we are thrilled to see a Surrey student recognized for his accomplishments both in and outside of the classroom. This award is a testament to all of Govind’s hard work, as well as the amazing team of educators at L.A. Matheson. Congratulations Govind.”

Peter Johnston, Principal of L.A. Matheson hopes Govind’s award will go on to inspire future students not only at his school, but throughout the entire district.

“It’s a great accomplishment and speaks to how our students can achieve alongside students from across the Lower Mainland, B.C. and the rest of Canada,” said Johnston. “There shouldn’t be any distinction between what L.A. Matheson students can do compared with other students and it’s a credit to our teachers, Govind’s elementary teachers, his family and the community.”

Teacher Manny Sahota, who has worked with Govind on his volunteering since Grade 9, said he’s not surprised by Govind’s achievement.

“As teachers, we try to create an environment where the students can thrive and excel and we do that in various ways…but Govind has had all the tools from the beginning, he was destined for this and that’s just who he is as a person.”

As for his next steps, Govind says he’s still just taking it all in and will sit down with his parents in the coming weeks to decide where he’ll want to go. In keeping with the work he’s been doing throughout his high school career, the one thing Govind is sure of is that he wants to pursue sciences and medicine, with the goal of being able to help those both within Canada and abroad.

“India recently had a lot of bad flooding, so there was a bunch of doctors on the ground there,” he explained. “So I want to go into that field of medicine so I can go outside of Canada to help others as well.”

Pausing slightly, Govind adds, “I just like doing what I can to help people.”

For the full list of the 2020 Loran Scholars, click here.

Photo by Eric Choi – Edge Imaging

Feb 13
Surrey Schools is growing – again!
 

A birds-eye view of progress at the site of Maddaugh Road Elementary, one of four new elementary schools underway in the Clayton and South Surrey neighbourhoods of Surrey.


Surrey Schools is the largest and fastest growing school district in the province. With almost 74,000 students currently enrolled in our schools, and an additional 1,000 students projected for the next school year, classroom capacity is top of mind as we strive to keep up with the exponential growth.

At the Feb. 12 Surrey Board of Education meeting, progress on four new schools was shared with trustees:


Planning and/or construction is well underway for all four sites, including finalizing catchment boundaries for each of the new schools. These catchment boundaries were reviewed and refined through a comprehensive engagement process this fall that included online and in-person consultations with more than 350 parents, students and staff.

In the coming days, the district will be sharing these catchment boundaries with parents who reside in the communities affected. The parent letters are also available here:


For more information about the new catchment boundaries, visit bit.ly/sd36consultations. Questions about the process or the boundaries can be sent to consultations@surreyschools.ca.

Feb 10
Feb. 19 talk about preparing students for work & career

Parents and students are invited to attend Do More You a discussion about the work being done to prepare our students for the exciting and rapidly changing world of work and career.

Participants will learn about the many courses, programs and resources Surrey Schools has to offer to guide students on their career exploration journey from fantasy careers to realistic job opportunities. The ultimate goal is to have happy kids with healthy relationships on the path to gainful employment.

Kris Magnusson - SFU.jpgWe will welcome guest speaker Dr. Kris Magnusson, professor and former Dean of Education at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Magnusson is an author, researcher, frequent speaker and an expert on career development.

Do More You takes place Wednesday, Feb. 19, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Surrey Schools Resource and Education Centre (REC), 14123 92 Ave., Surrey, B.C.

The evening is free! Register HERE.

For more information, please contact the Career Education Department at 604-595-6175 or caed-office@surreyschools.ca

Feb 07
Free menstrual products now available in Surrey Schools washrooms

menstrual product machines.jpgMenstrual product dispensers have been installed in all Surrey and White Rock schools.

More than 260 dispensers are now in designated secondary and elementary school washrooms districtwide, as well as in learning centres, the District Education Centre (DEC) and the Resource & Education Centre (REC). At each site, products are available in one or more gender neutral and/or handicapped access washroom, as well as female washrooms.

Installation of the machines, which provide menstrual products free of charge, was completed during the winter break in late December. Under a Ministerial Order issued last spring, all B.C. public school districts were required to provide free menstrual products for students in washrooms by the end of 2019.

Previously, menstrual products were made available to Surrey students upon request. The dispenser installations allow schools to provide products in a manner that better protects student privacy.

"It's so important that students have free, easy and discreet access to pads and tampons when they need them," said Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurie Larsen. "The board is more than pleased to have made this move. We hope it not only provides barrier-free access, but contributes to reducing and eliminating stigma around menstruation."

Purchasing and installing the machines and disposal receptacles, in addition to site preparation and signage, cost approximately $193,000. The provincial government contributed $26,0000.

You can view the district's new Provision of Menstrual Products to Students policy here.

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