Like most teachers in Surrey and Delta

Like most teachers in Surrey and Delta

Back to class – at last – in Surrey and Delta

After a bitter strike and extended summer break, students and school staff head back to the hallways.

Students and teachers are back in class this week, attempting to get up to speed after starting school three weeks later than scheduled.

For kids and teens, it meant dusting off the backpacks and getting into the routine of early wake-ups and packing lunches, as well as clearing the cranial cobwebs after a three-month vacation.

The clamber began a few days earlier for teachers, who were able to finally enter their classrooms Friday. For some, it was the first time since June, while others stepped foot into new schools and classrooms for the first time ever.

Sandra Succamore, a Grade 3 teacher at Surrey’s Sullivan Elementary, considered herself one of the lucky ones, returning to work in the same classroom and teaching the same grade she did last year.

“I’m one of the more fortunate teachers,” said Succamore. “I’m not moving schools.

Still, she said, it looked as though a bomb had gone off in her classroom.

Because the school year ended so abruptly when teachers went on strike in June, classrooms were not organized and sorted as they normally would have been prior to the summer break. And furniture and supplies were further shuffled to make way for the usual floor cleaning while kids were away.

As well, teachers usually spend at least a week or two at the end of August preparing their classrooms and creating a welcome educational space for the year ahead.

“Even though you’re planning all summer, we couldn’t get in our rooms,” Succamore said. “I’m trying to do what I do in two weeks, in three days. We’re all pretty much scrambling.

On Thursday, B.C. teachers voted strongly in favour of ending their strike, with 86 per cent in favour of a six-year agreement negotiated with the help of mediator Vince Ready last week. The deal gives teachers raises totalling 7.25 per cent over six years, improvements to benefits and a fund to hire more teachers each year. It also includes a mutually agreed-upon process to address any future court decision, with the government’s appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision on class size and composition set to be heard in October.

In a letter to Surrey parents on Friday, Supt. Jordan Tinney said hearing the deal was ratified was “music to his ears.

He said school staff will now begin the process of starting the year with the same professionalism, care and support that students have always received.

“We are proud of the work of our staff and we know your children will be well cared for,” wrote Tinney. “We have missed them.

He also thanked parents for their patience and support through what he called a “long journey” that included many sacrifices since teacher job action began April 23, escalating to a full strike that closed schools early at the end of June.

Though Education Minister Peter Fassbender had indicated missed instructional time might be made up, the ministry has now notified superintendents that the school year will not be extended to make up the days lost.

Surrey’s early figures show about 70,200 students will be entering public schools this fall an increase of about 120 from last year.

In Delta, where student numbers have been steadily declining in recent years, early enrolment projections indicated a modest increase this year, with roughly 15,500 students in elementary and high school classrooms.

with files from Tom Fletcher








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

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Most Read