EMS staff urge end to dual-bell system at South Surrey high school

Student enrolment back to 2011 levels, expected stable through 2020

A three-year decline in enrolment at South Surrey’s Earl Marriott Secondary has prompted officials to consider a return to “the norm” for students and staff: a four-block schedule.

According to a letter to parents from Surrey Schools superintendent Jordan Tinney Wednesday, a forum to discuss “benefits and challenges” of implementing the change for the coming school year is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday (May 23) at the 15751 16 Ave. school.

EMS has been operating on a ‘dual-bell’ schedule – with junior grades attending from 8 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. and seniors from 9:23 a.m. to 3:33 p.m. – since 2011, in an effort to address cramped conditions.

Teachers did not welcome the alternate schedule, claiming a year later that it had failed to fix the overcrowding problems at the school, and that the situation could put students at risk.

Parents protested in April 2013, when they staged a day of action to draw attention to what led to the extended schedule: stalled efforts to build a new school in the South Surrey/Grandview area.

Plans for a new school in Grandview Heights were announced the same year that the extended schedule was implemented, and land was purchased the following summer.

Funding to build it, however, wasn’t announced until last May. The new high school is now scheduled to open in 2020.

The move was greeted with a student walkout and criticism from parents.

Tinney’s letter notes “strong support” from staff for returning to a four-block schedule, along with an “incredibly short” timeline for consultation – the decision needs to be made within two weeks.

A letter from principal Ken Hignell and staff committee chair Chris Trevelyan echoed staff support, noting enrolment is back to 2011 levels. Advantages cited include impact on learning, improved attendance due to fewer end-of-day time conflicts and better opportunity for students to meet with teachers outside of classroom time.

Challenges include increased traffic for pick-up and drop-off, not enough room in the cafeteria and getting used to the time adjustment. Most Surrey schools operating on a four-block schedule hold classes from around 8:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

Just Posted

COLUMN: Technology gives me hope my father will walk again

Lokomat taught Michael Coss to walk again after brain injury – and you could help bring it to Surrey

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Decision to opt out of Operation Red Nose made last spring, says Langley Gymnastics

ORN drivers in neighbouring communities will fill Langley/Surrey gaps as best they can

Curling competition cutting close ahead of BC Junior Curling Championships

Qualifiers for December’s championships come down to the decimal point

Feds will spend $327.6 million a year to fight guns and gangs

Funding announcement in Surrey also includes $10 million for emergency opioid funding in B.C.

VIDEO: Two years in review with Cloverdale-Langley City MP

John Aldag sits down to talk about heritage, economics

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Christmas movie ‘classics’ at renovated Clova in December

By-donation events hosted by building owner Crossridge Church

Delta-Richmond Operation Red Nose kicks off with call for volunteers

ORN uses volunteers to provide motorists who have been drinking a free ride home — in their own cars

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Overnight lane closures at Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue

Left turn lanes off of the highway onto 72nd eastbound will be closed to install drainage culverts

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Most Read