Power of Partnerships: Surrey Schools

June 18, 2019

One of the ways we demonstrate SFU’s engaged university mandate at the Surrey campus is through authentic and deep partnerships with many public sector institutions in the city; Fraser Health, City of Surrey and Surrey Schools to name a few. In this and future blogposts, I’d like to acknowledge and celebrate some of these partnerships.

Today, I begin with Surrey Schools - the largest school district in the province. Not only is Surrey Schools the largest feeder of undergraduate students to SFU – at all campuses, not just Surrey – but SFU faculty, staff and students are working closely with the district to deliver some amazing programs.

Here are just a few to give you a sense of our partnership’s depth and diversity:

The SFU Surrey TD Community Engagement Centre (CEC) partners with SFU’s Friends of Simon (FoS) program and the Surrey Centre Library to connect newcomer students with SFU tutors. FoS has reached more than 500 Surrey students to date. In a recent FoS survey of participants new to Canada, the majority felt more comfortable settling and planning their education goals.

The Fraser Heights Science Academy was established six years ago and enables high school students to enroll in select SFU chemistry courses and obtain dual credit. Around the same time, the CEC also partnered with Surrey Schools to launch Racing Readers, an after-school program aimed at promoting physical activity and improving literacy and numeracy skills among elementary students.

The CEC also developed an Early Learning Program at Central City to support infant play-based learning and community connectedness. Both programs have proven to be invaluable in supporting the settlement and integration of new immigrants and refugees to Surrey.

Together with Surrey Schools, we host programs that attract young students to science and technology, including a robotics-based program called  Sticks and Stars.  And for the past decade, SFU Surrey has worked with Lena Shaw and the Cmolik Foundation to host summer camps on campus.

In terms of the bigger picture, SFU’s faculties of Education, Applied Sciences and Communication, Arts & Technology continue to work closely with Surrey Schools on academic initiatives ranging from teacher training to exploring and supporting STEM programs and projects with local schools. And there is much more on the horizon.

This fall, SFU’s Surrey campus and Surrey Schools will host a research pitch day modeled after a similar event co-delivered by SFU and Fraser Health in 2017. The day will bring together SFU researchers and Surrey Schools staff to share and compare research ideas.

It’s a partnership that goes back to our roots. Shortly after SFU Surrey opened its doors in 2002, SFU and Surrey Schools formed a liaison committee to support our collective interest in developing joint-academic, research and community engagement initiatives in Surrey. Past and present, I would like to thank committee members who’ve helped to develop this partnership and strengthen our commitment to local youth.