The Surrey School District is the largest school district in BC with 72,000 students. Each of the schools submitted on this application are designated inner city schools of which there are 36 in the district. The 20-70 students taking part in Attendance Matters at each site come to school each school day at 7:45 am. They begin each morning by eating a simple breakfast prepared by a district school meal program assistant and up to three volunteers. Once they have finished eating, children choose a literacy related activity: reading aloud in small groups or by themselves; playing literacy related games, activities, puzzles and manipulatives independently or in small groups gently guided by the Childcare Worker. The literacy activities are fun and engaging, allow for transition from home to school, build skills and get students focused and ready for the school day. Just under 50% of the students who participate in Attendance Matters are either learning English as a second language or have literacy skills 1 or 2 grade levels below their age.
Through quality teaching and learning, the Surrey School District and our 127 schools commit to engaging our students in their growth as individuals and in their development of the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to contribute to a healthy, democratic and diverse society. The Surrey Schools District’s primary mandate is to prepare our students for successful futures by ensuring they meet current learning standards of the BC Ministry of Education. However, we believe our responsibilities extend beyond the 9-3 classroom and are committed to working with community partners, businesses and individuals to give our students every opportunity possible for success. This includes providing breakfast for those who come to our schools hungry each day.
Attendance Matters is a program targeted at meeting the basic needs of vulnerable students. The program ensures that identified at risk students arrive at school and then are best prepared for the day of learning ahead. The breakfast program ensures we meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable students by providing them with a healthy meal to start the day. This program intervenes early in at risk students’ educational careers to address poor attendance, lack of skills, feelings of isolation and hopelessness, lack of food, and support at home. Currently, the students registered arrive before school at 7:45am to receive a nutritious meal consisting of cereal, 2% milk, toast and jam, cheese, yogourt, eggs fruit and vegetables. This menu paired with a warm welcome each morning from a Community Schools Outreach Worker or Child and Youth Care Worker give students the incentive to get to school and be on time.