Glarea Elevated Learning school co-founder Rita Rai (left) with Traci Baillie, head of school, in a classroom located above one of the rinks at Surrey’s Excellent Ice. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

PHOTOS: Inside Surrey’s new in-rink private school, which isn’t all about hockey

Glarea Elevated Learning school has opened at Excellent Ice

Students at Surrey’s newest private school have a rink-side view hockey fans would love.

Glarea Elevated Learning classes began Sept. 14 in renovated space at the Excellent Ice facility, in the Panorama area.

It’s billed as the Lower Mainland’s only school with multiple in-house hockey rinks.

“It’s an exciting time to be at the forefront of this, a different kind of education in Surrey,” said Traci Baillie, head of school, as she and Glarea co-founder Rita Rai gave the Now-Leader a tour.

“It’s safer, it’s cleaner, it’s a smaller number of students, we’ve got arts and sports and so much more,” Baillie said. “Every school has had challenges to open this fall, but it’s certainly a great feat to start a new school like this in a pandemic, and we’re on target.”


The school’s four classrooms and “flex” space occupy the second-floor former restaurant/bar and viewing areas at the three-sheet arena, opened in 1999 by Surrey-based Lark Group. The cafeteria/restaurant will remain open to Excellent Ice patrons after school hours, which are from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Building expansion plans were revealed in a report to Surrey city council in February 2019, with hockey originally a lone focus of the planned “academy,” and other sports and arts programs since added.

• READ MORE: Private school plans at expanded Surrey ice arena emphasize student ‘grit’

“We’re not a hockey school just because our classrooms are located above a rink,” Baillie emphasized. “That’s just part of what we do. We do a skating program, a martial arts program, our Arts Umbrella and other programs. It’s an appreciation of all sports.”

The school name means “grit” in Latin.

“Glarea Elevated Learning has re-imagined the modern school system by utilizing Challenge Based Learning within an all-inclusive Arts and Sport environment focused on connection and development,” explains a post at

To start, students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 are enrolled in the school, with expansion to higher grades to follow in phases, as the redeveloped facility grows in size.

“Right now we have students in every grade, up to Grade 5, with a max 10 students per class,” Rai said. “This year we still have spots available in each class, with our maximum number of students being 60, and that number will grow every year.”

(Story continues below video, from July 2020)

Rai said word is spreading about the school’s “different way of doing things.

“One of our families moved here from Vancouver,” she noted. “They left a private school there, sold their house and moved to South Surrey just to attend this school. It’s because we have a low number of students per class and also because of our air-filtration system. This is where they feel safe.”

Added Baillie: “We’ve had teachers who want to come here because of everything provided here. It’s an exciting time to be part of something new like this.”

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter


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


Just Posted

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Construction of Douglas College's Surrey Campus in 1970. (Photo: Douglas College Archives)
PHOTOS: Douglas College’s Surrey roots at a B.C.-first campus in 1970

The official date of the Douglas/Kwantlen split was April 1, 1981

B.C.’s parliament building, Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
ZYTARUK: Votes come at a premium price. Time to pay the tab

Promises are rained upon the voting public much like confetti being blasted from the maw of a cannon, or particles of ash spewn from an erupting volcano

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and staff by parents must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Langley resident Shaun Nugent, who died in 2019 shortly after he saved a swimmer from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (Courtesy Nugent family)
Langley man who died after saving swimmer receives posthumous medal for bravery

Shaun Nugent rescued woman from Hayward Lake near Mission in July of 2019

Most Read