Surrey’s Bear Creek Elementary awarded $75K literacy grant by Indigo

Photo: Surrey Schools

BOOKS can be transformative, powerful tools that can inspire minds and spark imagination, and the students of Surrey’s Bear Creek Elementary are about to have a lot more resources after being named a recipient of this year’s Indigo Love of Reading Foundation’s Literacy Fund Grant.

The annual grant is Indigo’s largest national grant program and is awarded to deserving schools seeking to foster a culture of literacy with limited resources. Named as one of this year’s winners, Bear Creek Elementary will receive $75,000 to fund books and other literary tools to create even more learning opportunities for students.

“We are so grateful as a school community that this opportunity has come our way and that a grant like this exists for schools like ours,” said Principal Diane Bradley. “This grant is such a great way for schools to assess their needs around literacy, explore those strengths and discover what resources are needed to enhance that learning.”

Vice Principal Rob Moxness said a portion of the grant is earmarked to expand the school’s home reading program.

“We have a multicultural learning community and we place a high value on literature that supports the needs of all of our students,” he said. “This grant will help by allowing a greater variety of books for home reading and provide an opportunity for students to share their love of reading with their families at home.”

The funds will also help bolster the school’s Story Walks program, which sees teachers to take students outside on interactive story-led walks. The unique walks use books that are divided into interactive signs that direct students to the next ‘page’ in an outdoor setting.

“From the very first session, we noticed how students loved hearing the stories in this manner,” said kindergarten teacher Christina Delmark. “They got very excited to follow the arrows from page to page to see what happens next. They also love moving around like the characters in the stories and discussing what is happening to them, especially when they’re animals.”

Grade 7 teacher Catherine Dy noted that part of the grant will also help purchase books that better reflect the diverse student population at the school.

“When we can curate a collection of books where students feel represented, where they see characters who look like them, feel like them, celebrate like them, they can feel more connected to who they are,” she said. “It creates a powerful sense of belonging and helps students feel seen and heard.”

The $75,000 grant will be dispersed to Bear Creek Elementary over the next three years and includes a 30 per cent discount on all books. A portion of the grant may also be used for literary events or initiatives held by the school.

“Thank you to all of the staff here at Bear Creek Elementary for your hard work – not just for supporting your students in securing this amazing grant… but for all that you do, year round,” said Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. “And thank you to Indigo for creating this opportunity and selecting this school!”

For more information on the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation grant, contact the Surrey Schools Business Development department.