As many as 40 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) secondary teachers joined industry engineers and technicians for a day of learning and collaboration at the Bluewater District School Board Education Centre in Chesley on Thursday, October 4, 2018.
The event, which was hosted by Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) in partnership with Bruce Power and the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI), was an excellent opportunity for teachers and industry professionals to meet and develop partnerships for classroom STEM programming. Keynote speaker Erica Lee Garia of the non-profit organization, Engineers of Tomorrow, presented on the role of mentors in the school system, and what makes industry/education partnerships successful. Local speakers from Bruce Power and OCNI also shared information about work, careers, and connections in the nuclear industry.
This type of collaborative partnership is a key initiative of Bluewater District School Board’s Specialist High Skills Major programming. As of this year, there are 24 programs in all secondary schools that span 10 industry sectors from Agriculture to Transportation.
BWDSB exceeds provincial averages in a number of areas related to Specialist High Skills Major programs. Proportionately, there are approximately twice as many students participating than the provincial average. Bluewater District School Board has 13 percent more students participating in Technology courses, while there is a 10 percent higher participation rate in co-operative education experiences. The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), which supports students interested in pursuing an apprenticeship, has a student registration percentage rate three times higher than the provincial average. Further to this, BWDSB has twice the percentage of females registered in OYAP than the provincial average.
“The high participation rate of our students in Specialist High Skills Major programs reflects the dedication of the classroom teachers who make these learning pathways such a success, and the commitment of industry partners who provide our students with co-op and apprenticeship opportunities,” says Blair Hilts, Learning Services Administrator – Student Success.