Introducing Tech Courses to Grade 8 students

On November 2, 2016, St. Joan of Arc CHS hosted its fourth annual Pathways to Technology Workshop for Grade 8 students in its feeder elementary schools. The event promoted technology courses at the school that will be available for students entering Grade 9 next year.

Over 350 students from Holy Jubilee CES, Blessed Trinity CES, Divine Mercy CES, St. James CES, and St. David CES enjoyed visiting various "Tech" classrooms in the school, including the construction woodshop, the hair and aesthetics salon, and the computer engineering room. Students remarked that the "hands-on" learning and project-based curriculum was very exciting, and they were impressed by the variety of technological facilities that will be available to them.

St. Joan of Arc's Pathways to Technology Coordinator and Grade 9 Exploring Technologies Teacher, Maria Falcone said, "the interest in this event continues to grow year-after-year. The workshop actually began in 2013 as a way to promote technology to Grade 8 girls. After our first workshop, the excitement and interest grew to the point that we opened it up to both females and males.

"As a proud Technology Teacher, I try to make every effort to ensure students are given equal opportunity to select courses they might not normally know much about and may be reluctant to consider. Elementary students are familiar with what course like Art or Phys. Ed are, but they may not be aware of the wide range of technology courses that are offered, and all the practical, hands-on skills they can learn in these courses. The Grade 8 students leave the workshop with new career potentials to consider and a deeper understanding of what technology might mean to them and their future."

The St. Joan of Arc CHS Technological Department has grown to include over 38 different sections, and has an enrolment of approximately 700 students.  Newly offered courses in 2016 include an all-male Hair and Aesthetics Barbering course, and an all-female Construction Technology course. These courses are off to great starts this year and challenge traditional gender stereotypes in the technological field.