Ferris students connect with iCoach program

·2 min read

The Near North District School Board (NNDSB) has been working on ways to encourage mentorships and foster leadership roles amongst their students.

Ultimately, the programs and opportunities “give staff and students the opportunity to share talents while developing leadership skills,” explained Deb Bartlett, the NNDSB’s communications officer.

Principal Andy Gagné of West Ferris Intermediate and Secondary School recently implemented the iCoach initiative, that sees students in the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) program work and assist with technology in class.

The school’s STEAM program “help students master the 21st century competencies that will help them to successfully navigate the job market of the future,” Bartlett enthused.

Their program is getting attention and has been designated an Apple Distinguished School. Apple, the American multinational technology company best known for their iPhones, iPads and Mac products, have distinguished 546 schools in 32 countries.

Apple explains on their website that “distinguished school leaders, faculty and the extended community have a clear vision for how their technology-rich environments support learning goals.”

“They use iPad and Mac products to inspire student creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. And they cultivate environments in which students are excited and curious about learning.”

Bartlett agrees, noting that “Apple supports the school’s vision as students’ creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking are inspired with Mac products.”

All of which “has helped STEAM students with their understanding and knowledge of technology and their understanding of collaboration and mentoring through such initiatives as iCoach.”

Kennedy Kerr, a grade 11 STEAM student, is one example of the school’s iCoach mentors. She serves as an iCoach for a grade 10 English class, and the virtual learning required during the pandemic provided amble opportunity to put her tech skills to use.

Kerr presented tutorials to students via videos and online materials that could be shared and presented through online classroom meetings.

“The iCoach position provides unique leadership opportunities,” Bartlett said, as they put their tech education to work by helping fellow students.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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