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How to Get More Involved with Your Child’s School in Surrey

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Kindergarten: How it works for parents

Is your child going to kindergarten in September this year? If yes then you have probably filled up the registration forms and other documents in the last few weeks. From Monday, January 15, 2018 Surrey public schools opened the admission process for children who turn five years old this year.

School choices dominate major and minor family decisions including where to live, where to work and for a few years family life itself seems to revolve around the school routine.  The next decision for some families is about the choice of specialized programs such as French Immersion, Intensive Fine Arts, Montessori and Traditional types of education. Parents and guardians can register their children to these four programs through an online lottery application open for a 3-week window from January 29th to February 19th, 2018 (at midnight)

Little ones grow up fast and our role as a parent changes with that. In some ways kindergarten is their first step into their own world. Mummy and Daddy can get but glimpses of their educational adventures whilst they explore and imagine and learn. Kids are bursting with excitement to experience the rough and tumble but how ready are we the parents? How ready are we to let go or find alternative ways to be involved?

Parental involvement in schools:

Students benefit from parental involvement in their education such as in student homework, school projects and attention to everyday academic achievements. Parents can also volunteer in schools to support teachers in the classroom, at special events, on field trips, as community sport coaches and on school committees. Another way to stay connected with children’s school life is to be involved through the Parent advisory councils also known as PACs which represent the collective view of parents of children in the school. PACs facilitate effective communication between the public school, the parent community and school planning councils.

Devangini Patel has previously volunteered as Chair of the PAC in her children’s school leading the work in organizing events such as a welcome barbeque, potlucks and fundraising carnivals. Having recently relocated, her daughter will be seeking admission at the Lena Shaw School. “Our role as active PAC members is key in supporting the school in their mission to create STAR learners (Safe, Thoughtful, Accepting and Respectful). We can provide a new insight and valuable contribution to the school culture” she reflected. Cindy Dalglish who runs a grassroots group called Surrey Students Now’ to advocate for equitable education echoes this sentiment. “Parents can contribute in the work of PACs to build the school community and maintain a cohesive environment”.  “PACs are also supposed to be places where families can ask questions about how to navigate the system and find a supportive network” she adds.

Parents supporting local schools:

As per recent Media reports Surrey is B.C.’s largest school district, with some 72,000 students. It’s also home to 325 portables, 50 of which were added this year to accommodate a booming population. Parent groups have worked to highlight the need for infrastructure investment in the Surrey School District. Most recently, Surrey Students Now along with other parent groups across the province met with BC Premier John Horgan and Minister of Education Rob Fleming for constructive dialogue regarding issues facing the public education system and advocated for developing well-funded neighbourhood schools. Parents can participate in this way to support local public schools through advocacy and fund raising.

Photo Credit: Surrey Students Now

Parents are the first teachers of their children and every parent wants to give their child the best start possible. Many families may be new to Surrey and many parents may be looking to understand their role whilst adjusting to the new routine and requirements of their child. Fortunately our public education system provides ways for parents to participate and maintain a close bond with their little ones. After all no matter how old they get, they always need family support in different ways.

Asmita has been blogging for several years about food security, travels, faith, arts and culture. She enjoys community reporting to participate in the local conversation. She founded ‘Culture Chats’ promoting social connections through shared interests in literary and other arts. Asmita has over ten years’ experience in marketing and communications. Her professional interests include business strategy and relations, research and community development. Her family and two little ones are the center of her world.

Education

Enver Creek Secondary student awarded largest Canadian STEM scholarship

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For this year, number of scholarships doubles to 100

Tejash Poddar has been selected to receive a $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study Engineering at Simon Fraser University.

A graduate of Enver Creek Secondary in Surrey, Tejash will be entering the Engineering Science this Fall. He was selected by Ms A. van Dyk for his outstanding academic excellence and leadership achievements.

Given the unparalleled current disruption, there is a much greater need for students to get financial support in order to pursue their university education. This year, The Schulich Foundation has decided to award an additional 50 scholarships, for a total of 100.

“Schulich Leader Scholarships are the premiere STEM scholarship program in Canada and the world. With 100 outstanding students selected in Canada this year, it is all but guaranteed that this group will represent the best and brightest Canada has to offer. These future leaders will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale.

With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars, and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of technology innovators,” says Mr. Schulich.

(When asked):
How did it feel to receive the notice of offer for the scholarship? How will this scholarship help you reach your goals?

(Tejash) :
“It was surreal first hearing the words over the phone – I could barely finish my sentences as I spoke. Looking back at it, everything really is a blur, but I am glad I was able to share the experience with my family around me.”

“I believe that sharing innovation is the key to driving innovation, and I plan to collaborate and grow with the people around me. I am incredibly grateful to be part of the Schulich Leader network, and I look forward to meeting new people and building relations in order to further pursue opportunities in the STEM field.”

About Schulich Leader Scholarships Canada

Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100+ million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage our best and brightest students to become Schulich Leader Scholars: the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.

Through The Schulich Foundation, these prestigious entrance scholarships are awarded to 100 high school graduates this year, enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada.

Every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader Nominee per academic year based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and financial need.

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Education

Hundreds Enjoy Surrey Libraries EXPO

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Surrey, BC – Hundreds of families joined Surrey Libraries at the inaugural Surrey Libraries EXPO on Saturday January 25th at the Guildford Town Centre to celebrate Family Literacy Day. The EXPO showcased some of the wonderful and varied programs and services offered at Surrey Libraries.

Participants got an opportunity to try their hand at stop motion animation, Dot and Dash Robotics, and have their photo turned into a vintage photo by using green screen technology. There was a mini escape room, and even a pop-up library where people could register for free library cards and borrow books, DVDs, and books on CD.

“This year’s theme for Family Literacy week is ‘Take 20!’ and encourages families to take 20 minutes and make learning together part of every day,” said Mayor Doug McCallum who was there to help kick off the EXPO. “We know literacy is an essential skill that directly impacts people’s quality of life and their ability to earn a good living. That’s why it’s so important to promote literacy and this is where Surrey Libraries plays an essential role in our community.”

Family Literacy Day is a national initiative involving annual literacy-related events and activities held at the end of January to raise awareness of the importance of literacy.

“We’re delighted that so many people came out to explore Surrey Libraries and our diverse programming,” said Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian. “The 21st century library offers so much more than books, and Surrey Libraries works to connect people, spark their curiosity and inspire learning.”

Surrey Libraries EXPO is one of many programs and events hosted by Surrey Libraries in support of literacy. More information on Surrey Libraries’ programs and events can be found at: https://surreylibraries.ca/events.

Children enjoying a puppet storytime at the EXPO.

Learning how snail mail worked before electronics.

A family having fun with the green screen technology.

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Education

Surrey Libraries Support Learners Obtain Google IT Support Certificate

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Graduates from the first cohort of the Google IT Support Certificate program along with the Honourable Harry Bains, MLA, Jinny Simms, MLA, and Councillor Mandeep Nagra, just after receiving their certificates on January 24.

Surrey, BC – BC’s tech industry is booming and there aren’t enough people with the skills required to fill the jobs that are available. This is what Google Canada realized and to help remedy the situation, last year they teamed up with Surrey Libraries and three other libraries across Canada to provide scholarships to hundreds of individuals to get trained in the Google IT Support Certificate Program (GISC Program).

Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate is aimed to prepare participants to become ready for an entry-level job in IT support in about eight months, with no experience required. This certificate is part of Grow with Google, an initiative focused on helping everyone across Canada access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers and business.

In addition to identifying students eligible to receive the Google scholarships, Surrey Libraries provided the students with online instruction and in-person learning facilitation by a dedicated Google IT Support Certificate Site Lead Librarian. Scholarships and funding for the Site Lead Librarian were supported through a generous Google.org grant.

The first cohort of 50 learners started the program in April 2019 and so far, 37 students from that group have finished the GISC Program and some have already landed jobs in the tech industry. Learners were provided wraparound supports including learning circles, opportunity to tour a local tech company, as well as presentations and workshops from the City of Surrey’s IT Department, WorkBC, and TLC Solutions.

“This program was very well run and helpful in getting my foot in the door to IT. I received amazing support from Surrey Libraries, and I enjoyed a lot of aspects of how this course was set up and how it was executed.” Said graduating student, Monica Mah “Having other learners to turn to weekly was very helpful in providing motivation, knowledge, and amusement. I feel more confident to be able to look for a job in the IT field.”

“We’re so pleased Surrey Libraries was chosen by Google to help support this program,” said Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian at Surrey Libraries. “Surrey is the fastest growing city in British Columbia, with a diverse and talented population. The program also aligns well with one of the library’s objectives to support digital skills development in preparation for a stronger workforce.”

A second set of learners are about to embark on their learning journey in March. People interested in the GISC Program are invited to attend an information session on Wednesday, January 29 at Surrey Libraries – City Centre Branch, Room 402 at 6:30 pm. Call 604-598-7426 to register.

About Surrey Libraries

Surrey Libraries is a valued community institution and one of the most-used community services in Surrey. The library welcomes around 2.7 million visits to our nine branches each year, and over two million visits to our online resources. Surrey Libraries runs hundreds of programs and services for children, youth, and adults to support their diverse learning needs. Serving the community since 1983, Surrey Libraries strives to connect people, spark curiosity, and inspire learning. Find out more about Surrey Libraries and our diverse programming at surreylibraries.ca.

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Education

SFU’s next president eyes “new era of potential”

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University appoints Joy Johnson as its 10th president and vice-chancellor

Simon Fraser University’s Board of Governors has appointed professor Joy Johnson as the university’s next president and vice-chancellor, following an extensive community consultation and international search process.

Johnson, SFU’s current vice-president research and international, will take office on Sept. 1 2020. She succeeds Andrew Petter, who completes his term on August 31 after a decade of distinguished service.

“Over the course of this competitive process, professor Johnson stood out from other candidates for her depth of academic and research experience, commitment to students and enthusiasm for the future of SFU,” says Fiona Robin, chair of SFU’s Board of Governors and chair of the presidential search committee. “We are thrilled to announce that professor Johnson is the successful candidate and look forward to welcoming her into this new role.”

A strong supporter of academic and research excellence, and a leader in nurturing and building community partnerships, Johnson is also committed to vibrant student learning experiences, equity, diversity and inclusion, and Aboriginal reconciliation.

“SFU is a remarkable institution at a remarkable time in its history,” says Johnson, who becomes the university’s second woman president. “We continue to attract world-class students, faculty, and staff, and we are stepping into a new era of potential.”

Johnson, who has been in her current role at SFU since 2014, is widely respected in academic and research communities. Under her leadership, SFU’s research income has grown from $103 million in 2014 to $161 million today, making it the fastest growing research income of any university in Canada.

During her tenure, the university established its innovation strategy—SFU Innovates—launched its big data initiative, secured two Canada 150 chairs and became host to Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer. The university also became a founding partner in the City of Surrey’s burgeoning Health and Technology District and established collaborative research partnerships around the world.

“I love being part of SFU—so much is possible here as we develop new learning opportunities, enhance student support and services, expand our facilities, strengthen our research infrastructure, and forge new partnerships,” says Johnson. “It’s my great privilege to have the opportunity to serve as President and Vice-Chancellor, and I look forward to getting started.”

BACKGROUND

Johnson completed her PhD in nursing at the University of Alberta, and is a former professor in the University of British Columbia’s School of Nursing.

Before joining SFU, Johnson had an impressive academic and research career in the health sciences. Her research focused on how environments and social dynamics influence health outcomes and opportunities, particularly among youth.

Her commitment to research led to her role as scientific director with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Gender and Health, setting the institute’s strategy and building opportunities for researchers.

Johnson is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2019).

She is the co-author of more than 180 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has led several initiatives that mobilized research insights to influence practice and policy.

Read more about Joy Johnson

About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties that deliver 193 undergraduate degree programs and 127 graduate degree programs to more than 35,000 students. The university now boasts more than 160,000 alumni residing in 143 countries.

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Education

Surrey Libraries Recommends Books to Read Before the New Decade Dawns

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Fill your holiday season with literacy, light and joy!

Surrey, BC – Readers in Surrey like a good thriller as several mysteries and thrillers topped the list of adult fiction books that were the most borrowed from the library in 2019.

If you’re in the mood for a crime thriller, Surrey Libraries staff recommend David Baldacci’s Redemption or Long Road to Mercy. Surprisingly, older titles including George Orwell’s classic dystopia 1984, eerie parable Animal Farm, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and J.D. Salinger’s classic teen angst novel Catcher in the Rye also made the most borrowed list.

Here’s the top 20 adult fiction books borrowed from Surrey Libraries in 2019:

Rank Book Title Author
1 Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens
2 Past Tense Lee Child
3 Dark Sacred Night Michael Connelly
4 The Reckoning John Grisham
5 1984 George Orwell
6 Kingdom of the Blind Louise Penny
7 Long Road to Mercy David Baldacci
8 Tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris
9 Clockmakers Daughter Kate Morton
10 Nine Perfect Strangers Liane Moriarty
11 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
12 Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan
13 Redemption David Baldacci
14 A Spark of Light Jodi Picoult
15 Washington Black Esi Edugyan
16 The Great Alone Kristin Hannah
17 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
18 A Better Man Louise Penny
19 Animal Farm George Orwell
20 Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

People interested in borrowing any of these titles can find the complete list and check for their availability online at https://bit.ly/35AmBd7.

If there isn’t something on the list of the most borrowed books in 2019 that is of interest, Surrey Libraries staff have also put together their picks of the best titles from 2019 called Fireside Reads for Winter. The list and availability of titles can be found online at https://bit.ly/2rbhcdF.

Surrey Libraries also has eBooks and eAudiobooks available for patrons to download and read on their phones or tablets. Visit www.surreylibraries.ca to find a title that interests you!

Here’s the top 15 eBooks borrowed from Surrey Libraries in 2019:

Rank eBook Title Author
1 Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng
2 Past tense Lee Child
3 The Reckoning John Grisham
4 Nine Perfect Strangers Liane Moriarty
5 Long Road to Mercy David Baldacci
6 Dark Sacred Night Michael Connelly
7 Becoming Michelle Obama
8 Educated Tara Westover
9 The Wife between Us Greer Hendricks
10 Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens
11 Tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris
12 The Rooster Bar John Grisham
13 Kingdom of the Blind Louise Penny
14 The Great Alone Kristin Hannah
15 The Fallen David Baldacci

About Surrey Libraries

Surrey Libraries is a valued community institution and one of the most-used community services in Surrey. The Library welcomes around 2.7 million visits to its nine branches each year, and over two million visits to its online resources. Surrey Libraries runs hundreds of programs and services for children, youth, and adults to support their diverse learning needs. Serving the community since 1983, Surrey Libraries strives to be a leader in supporting creativity, connectivity, literacy, and lifelong learning. Find out more about Surrey Libraries and our diverse programming at www.surreylibraries.ca.

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