This is how one classroom in Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary looks on the first day of school Thursday (Sept. 10, 2020) for one-hour orientation for small groups. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

This is how one classroom in Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary looks on the first day of school Thursday (Sept. 10, 2020) for one-hour orientation for small groups. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Education

‘So unusual for Surrey’ as school district has only 200 new students: superintendent

District usually sees about 1,000 new students each school year

The Surrey school district has about 550 fewer students than what staff was predicting for the 2020/21 school year.

Superintendent Jordan Tinney gave an update at Wednesday’s (Oct. 14) board of education meeting.

READ ALSO: Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections, Sept. 18, 2020

He said the district was projecting 44,267 elementary students, but the current enrolment is 43,493.

“In such an incredibly different year, this is 774 fewer students than projected in our elementary schools and that’s quite a shock, indeed.”

However, at secondary schools, Tinney said enrolment is slightly up.

The district was projecting 28,714 students and 28,930 have enrolled, he said.

“But when you put the elementary and the secondary together, as a combined piece, it still is not a positive story,” noted Tinney.

“That’s so unusual for Surrey. We know that there have been changes in immigration and we know there have been changes in international students, but it’s been a rare time indeed, certainly not one in my years in Surrey where we’ve seen a number like that.”

While enrolment is slightly up about 200 students from the last school year, Tinney said the 550-student decline from projections affects budgeting., such as hiring more teachers and support staff.

“That’s like an entire large elementary school, like Maddaugh Road that just didn’t appear but we paid for it. It’s just so hard, in this scenario, when you get into September to be able to pull back is extremely difficult.”

Enrolment at the district usually increases by about 1,000 students each school year.

“Our overall enrolment numbers are slightly above last year, but they are below our projections for the 2020/21 school year,” explains Laurie Larsen, chair of the Surrey Board of Education said in a release Oct. 9.

“This is due to a number of factors, including a decline in immigration and international students, and the fact that some parents opted to home school their children.”

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Find out which Surrey schools have had COVID-19 exposures

READ ALSO: What happens at a Surrey school when someone tests positive for COVID-19?, Sept. 17, 2020

Larsen said there is “no question” that the COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges to the public school system, “but it has also brought opportunity.”

After hearing from parents, she said the district began developing its blended model.

According to the district, most students returned to class full-time in September, with the exception of grades 10 to 12, who are participating in a blended model with both online and face-to-face learning.

Students in grades 8 and 9 were able to register for online options. Students in kindergarten to Grade 7 went back to school for full-time face-to-face learning, but there was an option for a blended program with a goal of gradually increasing face-to-face learning.

Tinney said this is “new territory” for the district.

“In an average school year, the vast majority of our students physically attend classes, and our staff is able to offer in-person support. This year, we have a program where about 29,000 students in our district are receiving at least half of their education online.”

This year, 34,571 elementary students are learning face-to-face, while 8,944 opted for the blended program, according to district data released on Oct. 9.

In high schools, 10,387 students are learning face-to-face, while 1,116 students in grades 8 and 9 are in the blended program and 17,531 students in grades 10 to 12 are in the blended program.

READ ALSO: Surrey school district proposing 13 new schools in the next decade, Sept. 19, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

CoronavirusEducationSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Six Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Lotto winner Erwin Espiritu. (submitted photo: BCLC media relations)
$1M lotto surprise for Surrey dad buying takeout food for son’s birthday

‘When I went to show my son, he said that there was six zeros on the screen, not three’

Pumpkins outside Malvinder Gill’s farm on 152nd Street in Surrey. (submitted photo: Sarah Wilson)
At Surrey farm, free pumpkins for donation to food bank

‘Amazing for the community, especially during the pandemic,’ says one local resident

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read