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Jul 12
Summer learning in full swing in Surrey

summer learning -coding.JPG

Students learn to code during one of numerous Summer Learning programs offered by the Surrey School District this year.

While the majority of Surrey students and their families have left the classroom behind for a couple of months, about 12,000 students are attending one of the Surrey School District’s many Summer Learning programs.

About half of those are secondary students ­taking academic courses – some to get ahead and others to upgrade classes they struggled in during the year.

Another 1,400 secondary students are enrolled in an array of specialized programs. Most are students identified as struggling in two core academic subjects who are participating in project- and experience-based study to enhance their learning. Others are attending a variety of programs targeting youth at risk, English language learners, Aboriginal learners or teens interested in exploring trades.

About 4,400 referred elementary students are in summer programs focussed on boosting reading and math, while approximately 500 Grade 7s are participating in the Transitions Program to not only enhance skills, but acquaint them with secondary school. Another 200 elementary students are in summer learning French Immersion programs.

For the sixth year, the district is also offering about 50 kindergarten and Grade 1 students at an inner city school foundational reading and math programs, and a new program for Grade 3-5 students targeting fundamental movement skills is being piloted with 20 students.

There are about 200 more summer school students in Surrey this year than there were last year.

Jul 06
Summer reading recommendations that are Surrey-student approved

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Looking for some winning, student-recommended books to dive into during the summer break? Search no further!

Each year Surrey School District teacher-librarians support three readers' choice award programs in which Surrey students have an opportunity to participate and vote for their favourites. The Surrey Teens Read program is available to secondary students, while the Surrey Picture Book of the Year and Surrey School's Book of the Year programs are for elementary students.

The winning novel in this year's Surrey Teens Read contest was Scythe, by Neal Shusterman, selected from a list of 10 nominated titles written for young adults. The book is the first in a series and follows two teens living in a world where with no hunger, disease or war, who must reluctantly master the "art" of taking a life in order to control population size. See other young adult titles that were in the running this year, and view the new list of nominees for 2018-2019.

The Surrey Schools Book of the Year for 2018, geared toward elementary school students in intermediate grades, was The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown, a story about a robot who must learn to survive amongst unwelcoming animals on a remote island. View past winners in this category and the intermediate books nominated for 2018-2019.

Aimed at primary-level readers, the 2017-18 Surrey Picture Book of the Year was Nope! by Drew Sheneman, a humourous story about a mama bird and a fearful baby taking its first flight. See all 10 nominees here, and past picture book winners here.

Surrey Libraries also has a free Summer Reading Club for kids of all ages, as does the White Rock branch of Fraser Valley Regional Library.

Jun 28
Update on programs & services for parents and youth

As families prepare for summer break, the Surrey RCMP and Surrey Schools provide an update on some of the programs and services available to youth and parents, as well as offer tips and resources for parents who are concerned their children may be heading down the wrong path.

We wish you a safe and enjoyable summer!

Read more: Joint RCMP / Surrey Schools Letter to Parents. Also available in Mandarin & Punjabi.



Jun 28
Surrey Schools submits latest Five Year Capital Plan to province

(You can also view this video with Mandarin and Punjabi translation).

The Surrey School District has submitted an updated capital wish list to the province that includes $977 million worth of requested new school space, land to build new schools, replacement projects and upgrades.

The 2019-2020 Five Year Capital Plan submission requests funding for 39 major projects, prioritized to meet the district's urgent need for more space, particularly in fast-growing Surrey neighbourhoods such as Grandview, Clayton and South Newton.

Topping the list is a new elementary school in the Sunnyside area of South Surrey, followed by a land purchase and new elementary school in South Newton.

The capital plan also includes a number of minor projects focused on making facilities more efficient and reducing the district's carbon footprint. Additional funds are requested for a new bus and playground funding. 

Capital plan 2019 SurreyBC.JPG

Jun 26
15 Surrey students earn summer university spots in SHAD enrichment program

SHADLogoSurrey.jpg.pngFifteen students from five different schools in the Surrey School District will be spending a month at various universities across Canada after being selected for the SHAD summer enrichment and entrepreneurship program.

SHAD is a program focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) and provides an opportunity for students in Grades 10-12 to spend a month at a Canadian university, interacting with faculty and leaders, and participating in activities and workshops.

The students, from Semiahmoo, Fraser Heights, North Surrey, SAIL and Fleetwood Park secondary schools, will also be challenged to come up with an original solution to a national societal problem that they'll be presented with during their first week.

Nearly 1,000 students from across the country were selected to attend SHAD this summer. The program runs July 1-27.

Here are the Surrey students selected and where they'll spend the month of July:

Semiahmoo Secondary

Lindley Bishop, Grade 10 – University of Waterloo

Kevin Chen, Grade 11 – Lakehead University

Jensen Gillett, Grade 11 – Dalhousie University

Cecilia Kim, Grade 11 – Carleton University

Shamus Li, Grade 10 – University of Calgary

Louie Lu, Grade 11 -- McMaster University

Jenny Mei, Grade 11 – Western University

Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning (SAIL)

Jesse Pound, Grade 10 – Ryerson University

Fraser Heights Secondary

Roy Guo, Grade 11 – University of Saskatchewan

Fawzan Hussain, Grade 10 – Western University

Eli Lee, Grade 11 – Queen's University

Danny Liu, Grade 11 – Dalhousie University

Lucy Yan, Grade 11 – University of New Brunswick


North Surrey Secondary

Adi Poluri, Grade 11 – Queen's University

Fleetwood Park Secondary

Terence Sun, Grade 11 – University of New Brunswick

Jun 22
École Woodward Hill Elementary turns bottle caps into art

Woodward Hill bottle cap mural.jpg

Teacher Vanessa Tan watches as École Woodward Hill Elementary students help Gordon Powell, district vice-principal of aboriginal learning, and Surrey Board of Education trustee Bob Holmes unveil the River of Nations mural.

Woodward Hill bottle cap mural detail.jpgAs a vibrant new mural was unveiled at École Woodward Hill Elementary, it wasn't immediately apparent it was made from plastic trash.

But the artwork, titled River of Nations, is comprised entirely of bottle caps in a rainbow of colours, complemented by painted images of fish and "turtle island" – the name for North America, according to some Indigenous groups.

Done in collaboration with Métis artist Molly Applejohn, the mural was part of a reconciliation project at the school and included lessons about respect for the environment and for others. It was officially unveiled June 21 during a student-led learning assembly at the school.

The colours, explained teacher Vanessa Ram, represent diversity and "how beautiful it is when differences come together." The mural project was also an opportunity for students to consider the detrimental impact plastics have on the ocean and sea life.

"It gives me so much hope for the future to stand before this powerful generation of young people who have already demonstrated the levels of empathy and action necessary to transform ugly problems into something beautiful, like this mural," said Tan to the gym full of students.

The mural will be installed in the front foyer of the school.

Jun 20
L.A. Matheson teachers win first-ever Mayor’s Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility

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Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner presents the inaugural Mayor's Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility and a $10,000 cheque to L.A. Matheson Secondary teachers Annie Ohana and Gurpreet Bains, with Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen, Surrey RCMP Supt. Shawn Gill and LAM principal Rex Hayes on hand.

A pair of teachers at L.A. Matheson Secondary have won the inaugural Mayor's Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility for their ongoing efforts to cultivate social justice and empowerment in Surrey youth.

Annie Ohana and Gurpreet Bains were recognized for their guidance of the Mustang Justice program at the school. Mustang Justice is led by students in Grade 8-12, with a purpose of fostering responsibility and a desire to change the community for the better. Some of the program's diverse activities include Pride Week, Indigenous Week celebrations, anti-racism events, soccer camps and mentorships with local elementary schools. The group even put together more than 300 'welcome to Canada' packages for Syrian refugees arriving in Surrey.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said L.A. Matheson was chosen from more than 20 other "worthy" nominees, and praised the program for fostering a connection between students that is positive and focuses on building leadership.

She credited Ohana and Bains for their passion and dedication.

"Their work is grounded in bringing light and understanding to complex social and civic issues that need awareness and clarity," said Hepner. "And they challenge students to vacate the negative narrative and instead, to foster a sense of service and of responsibility."

The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize to maintain and enhance Mustang Justice initiatives.

Ohana said she believes in "raising" students to consider civic responsibility a pleasure, and called Mustang Justice a "tool of empowerment" for all voices.

"I stand before you as an educator that started Mustang Justice six years ago because to be neutral is to be complicit," said Ohana. "I stand before you as an educator that saw what was lacking in this community – a community I live in – and decided that our students were the answer, not the problem."

Bains said as educators, their vision is to educate hearts as well as minds.

"Educating our children to be respectful, responsible, kind, compassionate, and contributing members to their communities is at the heart of everything we do at Matheson," she said.

The award is a key component of Hepner's Action Plan on Gang Violence Prevention, launched last August, and encourages Surrey agencies to go "above and beyond" by inspiring civic responsibility in Surrey children and youth. Check here for more information about the award.

“It’s not at all surprising to me that Annie and Gurpreet would be behind an initiative being recognized for supporting youth, good citizenship and the community,” said Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurie Larsen. “They have been the driving force behind many social responsibility programs in their school community and Mustang Justice encompasses that."

Jun 18
Surrey students medal at Skills Canada National Competition

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Earl Marriott Secondary student Sam Schweigel receives his silver medal for Website Design at the 2018 Skills Canada National Competition.

Skills Canada 2018 Samantha Hsu and Julie Ma.pngSurrey students who competed at the Skills Canada National Competition in Edmonton recently made B.C. proud by making their way onto the podium.

Earl Marriott Secondary student Sam Schweigel won silver in Website Design, and Samantha Hsu and Julie Ma (right), from Fraser Heights Secondary, teamed up to secure bronze in 2D Computer Animation. Sukhman Brar from Princess Margaret Secondary also competed in the Electrical Installations category.

The top two qualifiers at nationals compete head-to-head at next years national competition in Nova Scotia, with the winner possibly joining Team Canada at the world competition in Russia.

Check here for the results from the 2018 Skills Canada National Competition.

Jun 15
Ray Shepherd Elementary’s ‘G is for Grandfriends’ program wins award

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(Back row, left to right) Surrey school trustee Laurae McNally, Caroline Melm and Charan Gill (both from the BC Retired Teachers' Association), and teachers Colleen Siple, Ellen Petersson and Lisa Tome, with seniors from Evergreen Care Home and Ray Shepherd Elementary students.

When Carter Cullen was in Grade 1, he and his classmates at Ray Shepherd Elementary began visiting seniors at Evergreen Baptist Care Home.

Now in Grade 5, he says going to see his "grandfriends" remains one of his favourite things to do.

"Ever since the first time I was there, I could hardly wait to go back," Carter says. "Looking at their smiles always makes me feel happy inside."

Ray Shepherd grandfriends Group1.jpgCarter spoke at a special event at Ray Shepherd where the school's "G is for Grandfriends" program was honoured by the B.C. Retired Teachers' Association (BCRTA).

The Golden Star Award acknowledges programs that have developed rich and transforming relationships between students and seniors in their communities. The Surrey school was among just five recognized provincewide.

Established in 2009, Ray Shepherd's intergenerational program involves three classes – those of teachers Ellen Petersson, Lisa Tome and Colleen Siple – which visit Evergreen once a month, connecting with residents and enriching their days with music, arts and crafts and games.

Student Nico Van Nuland-McDonald said he was nervous initially, but soon realized how meaningful the student visits are.

"It's our privilege to bring them joy. They smile, I smile," he said, looking toward a row of seniors who travelled to Ray Shepherd for the award ceremony. "Your happiness is our happiness."

BCRTA's Charan Gill and Caroline Melm presented the school with a trophy and a $1,500 cheque to further enhance the program.

Gill noted that one of the things that stood out about the Ray Shepherd grandfriends program was the mutual learning and respect between the students and seniors.

As Nico said, the program has proven "no matter how old you are, you can still have fun together."

Jun 14
Queen Elizabeth Secondary students earn $5,000 for Surrey Urban Mission

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Grade 10 Queen Elizabeth Secondary students Manveer Sidhu, Harnoor Cheema, Catherine Huinh and Jessica Basra present a $5,000 cheque to Surrey Urban Mission executive director Mike Musgrove after winning the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.

A group of Queen Elizabeth Secondary students is helping make a difference in the lives of those in need, after their advocacy garnered $5,000 for Surrey Urban Mission (SUM).

The students were participants in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), which grants hundreds of thousands of dollars to community-based social service charities each year, based on the research, presentations and support of secondary students.

About 40 groups at Queen Elizabeth have been participating in YPI throughout the year, giving presentations about their chosen charities. Three groups faced judges in the finals, with Grade 10 students Manveer Sidhu, Harnoor Cheema, Catherine Huinh and Jessica Basra's group winning first place.

The students not only explained and created a visual representation of SUM's initiatives, but used Kahoot (an online quiz platform that specializes in game-based learning) to make the presentation interactive and encourage audience participation.

They also spoke about how the money would benefit the organization, and about their experience volunteering to serve breakfast to the mission's clientele.

"Sometimes when you look at them, you can't really tell the difference… that they're struggling," acknowledged Huinh.

Mike Musgrove, executive director at SUM, visited the school to receive the cheque from the QE students, whose efforts he praised.

"We've had other YPI groups come in and compete on our behalf and we haven't had anyone succeed," he said. "So, this is just an amazing result and we are absolutely thrilled. We are beside ourselves."

SUM provides meals, shelter and support to community members in need.

Musgrove said SUM is looking to improve the shelter and upgrade from mats on the floor to cots, as well purchase pillows and extra sheets for shelter guests. The student-generated funds, he said, means the improvements can go ahead.

"It's unbelievable, and your timing is phenomenal," Musgrove said. "Now we have no concerns. We know that we have the money…"

The students were thrilled their philanthropic efforts were successful.

 "We never thought we'd win," said Basra.

This is the 10th year Queen Elizabeth Secondary has run the YPI program.

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Session info
Time: 7/18/2018 8:28:50 PM
Host: AS79
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