IGNITE Toolkit: inspiring stories and everything you need to know to start and manage a local chapter

9781470083304: IGNITE Toolkit: inspiring stories and everything you need to know to start and manage a local chapter
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IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution) has been showing young girls the range of opportunities represented by STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers throughout the Seattle Public School system since 2000. IGNITE is nationally recognized as a "best practice" for the work we have done increasing participation among girls in STEM education. The program works within the school system, using school presentations, field trips to industry, and job shadows/mentoring to show girls a future full of greater possibilities. IGNITE offers an affordable, community based, multifaceted approach: providing tools and curriculum which allow educators both locally and across the globe to replicate the successful model that thrives in Seattle public schools. The IGNITE Toolkit was written to help you catch the IGNITE spirit and start an IGNITE chapter in your school or community. Ideally, it will provide all the informational resources necessary to ensure success from the first presentation on. Each section of the Toolkit contains information and step-by-step instructions in concise, readable “bytes.” Copies of all resource documents (checklists, forms, letters, etc.) are included in the Appendix and electronic versions of the forms are available on the IGNITE website.

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About the Author:

When I was little, I loved being a kid and being around kids. My mother told me, “Oh you love kids. You should work with them.” So that’s what I did and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last thirty years. I attended Queens College in New York, a part of City University of New York. It was a fascinating place where the professors had interesting and diverse backgrounds. One of the most profound moments for me at the school was finding the Open Education Program. Through that incredible program I became inspired to be an educator. I worked with the students and staff at Central Park East Elementary School in East Harlem. The principal there, Deborah Meier, who is now recognized as one of the leaders in educational reform, was my mentor. From her, I learned that to be a great educator you need to inspire children by helping them find their passions and learn through those passions. At the school, each student had an individual learning contract. The teachers facilitated learning by connecting it to the students’ personal interests. If Sally liked music, the teacher helped her learn science, math, and reading through the study of the piano and other instruments. In these somewhat chaotic classrooms, students were active and talkative, yet they were learning far more than if they had been sitting quietly at their desks. Instead of simply learning information, they were learning how to learn. That experience changed my whole perception of how and why people learn. I graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Teacher Certification in Elementary Education. After graduation, I became a seventh grade English and social studies teacher and then went on to earn a Masters of Science in Education and a School Counselor Certificate in English (7 though 12). Moving west to Seattle, I began working for the Seattle School District as a recruiter for nontraditional careers for both boys and girls. Early on in that capacity, I was challenged to replicate my success in the constructions trades by finding a way to boost the enrollment of girls in technology classes. Never one to back down from a challenge, and seeing the deep need for a program to interest girls in technology and engineering, I developed IGNITE. The success of the program has enabled more than 10,000 girls to learn about careers and life possibilities that they had never dreamed possible. If I can inspire someone—adult or child—to be their best, then I have done my job.

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