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

Lack of facilities in Surrey and Delta forces cricket league to look elsewhere

Surrey Councillor Bruce Wayne said that the demand always exceeds supply to a certain degree

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Multi-vehicle crash snarls traffic in Surrey Tuesday afternoon

No reports of injuries so far in collision at 67th Avenue and 152nd Street

Surrey Board of Trade praises ‘balanced’ B.C. budget, but wants an LRT commitment

‘What we need for Surrey is certainty,’ says SBOT boss of provincial commitment to light rail plan

ZYTARUK: All for five minutes, and five minutes for all

Is Surrey city council putting an egg timer on democracy?

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

Most Read