Tamanawis Secondary 24-25


Tamanawis Secondary School is a public school located in the Panorama-Sullivan zone of the Surrey School District. Our school serves approximately 1500 students with a teaching and support staff of 125 committed professionals. The facility contains a wide range of classrooms, two dedicated art rooms, two technology (woodwork and metalwork) areas as well as 4 dedicated computer lab rooms. The school has two food studies facilities as well as a teaching kitchen which also provides the school with breakfast and lunch time cafeteria service. The Physical/Health Education and Athletic departments make full use of our two gymnasiums, soccer, and rugby field as well as the weight room. Our performing arts department hold numerous dance, drama, and band performances throughout the school year. A school that is this busy and this fully populated unfortunately has no room for growth. As such the school has been approved for a 575-seat addition to be completed in the coming years.

The school is very proud of our students’ curricular achievements and extra-curricular participation. Our students engage in a wide variety of courses that are provided to peak all students interest and ability levels. The AP Calculus program challenges our students’ abilities in mathematics. The school offers a wide variety of pre- AP programs in grade 10 and 11 as well. Our leadership classes engage in the curricular competencies of the course will finding ways to support our school and surrounding community. Students can engage their interests and passions in fine arts, through drawing, painting, sculpture or photography, as well as creating the school’s yearbook. They can work on their musical passions to perform in a concert or jazz band. Tamanawis also boast the only drumline program in Surrey, which have performed in various festivals and even at the Cloverdale Canada Day celebration this past July 1st. Students have a variety of clubs to choose from, many of which are student led with teacher support. Our boys and girls’ basketball teams all competed at the South Fraser level or higher and the boys wrestling team has recently won four consecutive provincial championship.


Given the data and evidence collected from staff and students, our school community is focused on a high level of learning for all students. However, for high levels of learning to take place our students need to be in an environment where they feel supported, cared for and safe.

A effective learning community integrates the academic, social and emotional dimensions of teaching and learning with real world context to engage learners at all levels.

Our Question:

How does a learning environment that embeds social emotional learning at the heart of teaching cultivate school climate, support students mental wellbeing, transition of newcomers to our school, and academic success.


To support the smooth transition of Tamanawis’ newcomer students. 

Context and Observations: 

In the past few years, Tamanawis had a rapid growth in the arrival of newcomer students from countries like India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Italy, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine. So far this year, we have already welcomed around 110 new ELL students. This trend seems to continue with increasing new arrivals from across the world. As a point of first and frequent contact, the LST department noticed the following issues with regard to successful transition of Tamanawis’ newcomer students:

  • Barriers to Newcomer Family Engagement: There is a need for the families of newcomer students to be engaged, to access, and know about their child’s progress in school. While the issues of parent engagement are not new; LST department has noticed that a lack of fluency in English, a lack of awareness and education about the education system, and lack of information are barriers to informed family engagement.
  • Impact on Transition Due to Cultural Differences: Our newcomer students are arriving from countries and societies in which the values, norms and expectations are different. In many cases, this is the student’s first interaction with education in the western world. LST department is often the first point of contact for these issues. Female students from Afghanistan for example have asked our department for space to eat out of sight from boys (as they will need to remove their face coverings to eat), for exemptions from physical fitness, and have demonstrated sensitivity to images and content in class.

Initiatives Undertaken 2023-2024: 

  • Peer Buddy Program: The department launched a peer buddy program in which older experienced students were paired up with newcomer students to help them feel socially and emotionally connected. Case managers facilitated the first few sessions at lunch time through ice-breaking activities and games. We conducted a survey to find out the success of this program. Many new students mentioned positive impacts of this initiative.
  • Newcomer Family Orientation: The department held a newcomer and welcome orientation session for families of newly arrived students. The session covered information about school, an overview of report cards, the role and function of the LST department and case managers, counsellor access information, reading and accessing report cards, summer school registration, and provided an opportunity for family members and students to ask questions. The session was attended by approximately 45 individuals and was conducted in English as well as in other languages.
  • Staff LST-ELL Support Session: LST department held a lunchtime session on supports and strategies that classroom teachers can use to contextualize their instructional strategies and pedagogy to support ELL students and those with learning support designations.
  • Compiled and Distributed Resources and Adapted Materials: Our department also created resources and released a booklet outlining a variety of adaptations teachers may find useful in their practice. The booklet featured adaptations across instructional, assignment, assessment, organizational, technological, environmental, behavior, motivation and reinforcement, as well as self-management categories.

Social Emotional Learning






-Scaffold Learning

-Model S.E.L. with emotional/sense of belonging through in class activities.

-Chunked information given to students on themes and topics that reflect S.E.L.

-Use examples, ideas, and themes connecting events from the past with current topics and events.

Ex. - Experiences of youth during WW1/WW2 compared with experiences of youth during current Ukraine/Russia conflict.


-Practice developing relationships with/between students that reflect a connection and understanding of S.E.L.

Focus on the following: good listening and communication skills; Asking and answering questions effectively; Sharing ideas.

-Graphic organizers and reflective assignments comparing past and present events (focus on S.E.L.) and the connection made by students.

-Student reflection activities.

-Curricular competency connection: students will connect to evidence and judgement looking for specific explicit and implicit judgements (research, social media, etc.).

-Increase in individual/group participation (in various ways) to communicate learning.

-Formative feedback

-Single point rubric on reflection activities.

-Proficiency Sequences on curricular competencies.

-Foster and develop S.E.L. skills through empathy and emotional understanding of events (Political, Social, Cultural, etc.) from the past to help understand present events.

Instructional Strategies






Built into the instructional practices.

Building emotional safety

  • Notice, affirm, invite
  • Turn & talk
  • Think, pair, share
  • Discussion matrix

Discussion activities

  • Turn & talk
  • Think, pair, share
  • Discussion matrix
  • Jigsaw
  • Structured Academic Controversy
  • Participation profile
  • Student surveys
  • Start of semester survey
  • Mid-point survey
  • End of semester survey
  • Student reflections
  • Teacher observations

  • Oral expression of ideas becomes more complex (from answers focused on recall to answers focused on critical thinking).
  • Increased student confidence to share ideas orally in class.
  • Students communicate more in comparison to the beginning of the year.
  • Students collaborate more in comparison to the beginning of the year.

  • To develop communication and collaboration skills.



As the staff and students at Tamanawis Secondary continue to learn together and develop their skills and strategies around Social and Emotional learning, we anticipate continued growth in the following areas:

  • A continued practice of supporting the smooth transition of Tamanawis’ newcomer students
  • continuing and increasing the practice of teachers making positive connections with students to lessen the possibility of anxiety in the classroom
  • continue to develop learning activities that engage students, particularly with visual representations of information
  • further develop the skills needed for students to effectively communicate and collaborate that will serve them well in their education both now and into the future.

Surrey Schools

Formed in 1906, the Surrey School District currently has the largest student enrolment in British Columbia and is one of the few growing districts in the province. It is governed by a publicly elected board of seven trustees.

The district serves the cities of Surrey and White Rock and the rural area of Barnston Island.

Surrey Schools
14033 - 92 Avenue Surrey,
British Columbia V3V 0B7