Some of the students, who are part of the district’s English Language Learner Welcome Centre, with their work. (Submitted photo: Surrey Schools)

Surrey School’s welcome centre a finalist in Settlement Agency Award

Award recognizes agencies for its work to help newcomers integrate, find success

The Surrey School District’s welcome centre is being recognized for its work helping newcomers integrate and find success in Canada.

The English Language Learner Welcome Centre has been nominated for a Settlement Agency Award as part of the 2019 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards, according to a post on the district’s website.

The award was established last year “to recognize work settlement agencies nationwide.”

People can vote through an online voting process at: canadianimmigrant.ca/canadas-top-25-immigrants/settlement-agency-award.

Voting takes place until May 16 and will be announced with the top 25 winners at the end of June.

Surrey’s welcome centre helps English Language Learner (ELL) students and their families integrate into the district and get settled in the community, reads the post.

Through the welcome centre, staff provide language assessments, registration support and information about the province’s education system and school and community programs.

From April 2017 to March 2018, the welcome centre supported almost 6,500 individuals which included newcomer ELL students and each of their family members. From April 2018 to January 2019, the centre supported almost 5,500 people.

The services include: school orientation and registration support; holistic language assessment and placement assistance; community awareness and capacity building; ongoing support relating to multiculturalism and settlement; extensive resource library; settlement and multicultural workers; and partnership programs.

“Settlement workers at the Welcome Centre provide students and families with information about Canadian systems and skills needed to transition into their new community, while multicultural workers with extensive experience dealing with cross-cultural issues can respond sensitively to the academic needs of ELL students,” according to the post.

Caroline Lai, welcome centre manager, said staff is fortunate that the welcome centre has support from the trustees, management and “everyone in our district.”

“But to be recognized outside of our organization is a great achievement,” Lai said. “Our settlement workers in schools, and all staff at the welcome centre are so dedicated to our newcomer students and families – what a great way to highlight their achievements and have their hard work and efforts noticed.”

READ ALSO: Businesses donate, 25 computers, keyboards to newcomer families in Surrey



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