Help shape the future of Surrey schools

Public input sought about specialty programs in an effort to hone district's long range plan.

The Surrey School District is evaluating its specialty programs – such as Montessori, French immersion and fine arts – and is seeking input from the public.

An online discussion has been set up to gather information and feedback so the district can form a long-term vision for so-called Choice programs, which also include traditional, discovery, Inter-A, International Baccalaureate, heritage and Punjabi programs.

Do you know what programs currently exist? Which ones have wait lists and where is there declining enrolment?

The feedback is being gathered at www.placespeak.com/surreyschools.

One discussion already taking place asks whether the board of education should consider expanding any Choice programs and if so, which ones?

The majority of answers so far indicate respondents feel access to French immersion should be improved, with one person even suggesting the language program be available at all schools. Several others also recommended expanding programs for gifted children.

Participants are welcome to make their own comments and suggestions and/or reply to those others have made.

The PlaceSpeak discussion group also includes graphics about things such as growth areas in Surrey, program enrolment trends and school construction projects, as well as documents describing each of the current Choice programs.

The Surrey School district is the largest in B.C. with about 73,000 students at 130 school sites. Though 19 schools have been built or added onto in the past 20 years, many schools in Surrey remain overcrowded. With such rapid growth and diversification, the district officials hope to use the public consultation to look ahead and form a long-range plan. In addition to the online consultation, there will also be public forums about Choice programs.

Once all the feedback is analyzed, staff will bring the recommendations to the Surrey Board of Education.

To participate in the conversation, you must first register (for free) at www.placespeak.com. Then, connect with the topic ‘Surrey School District – A Vision for the Future’ (www.placespeak.com/surreyschools) and share comments, ideas and opinions.