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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fern’s New STEM Committee

Fern Parents!

We have revived the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Committee (“STEM”) at Fern to broaden the school’s participation in these subjects. We want to build on the great arts and eco foundation at Fern in the many ways these areas overlap with STEM (when arts are added into the mix, the acronym becomes STEAM).

The STEM Committee’s goals are threefold:
1) To get kids excited about science, math, and creative problem solving
2) To replace and improve Fern’s technology
3) To increase and vary parent engagement in the school community

We want to seek ways to enhance the science and math curriculum at Fern, and to support the staff and administration to expand STEM-based extracurricular activities such as clubs or a school science fair. We want to see our kids excited about these subjects, and learn how to create technology rather than just be consumers of it.

We also want to bring Fern’s technology in line with the technology at other schools in the TDSB. As many other schools have discovered, a lot of the support and funding of new technology relies on parent fundraising. We hope to work with the staff and administration to identify areas where our technology needs improvement, and then begin to plan funding initiatives to revitalize Fern’s technology over the long term.


What are some examples of activities that can happen at schools with better technology?
-More support for students with learning disabilities
-Coding classes, “Hour of Code” events, keyboarding classes
-Online math contests, circuit building or Makey-Makey activities
-Film-making clubs/projects, class presentations, and arts performances recorded by students on iPads
-Photographing and making project collages of for instance, leaves/wildlife/nature while on a class nature walk with iPads

We are working with Fern administration to determine the best way to provide our support to the school – we are considering both low-cost and easy options, as well as projects that require more funds or expertise.

We will be looking for parents to help organize events, research grants, source activities or materials, make in-class presentations, spearhead STEM extracurricular activities such as a science fair, and bring their energy to this committee. Once we have assessed Fern’s technology needs, we will be seeking technology and other STEM funding, and we will be looking to the Fern school committee to support fundraising for these initiatives.

To volunteer, for more information, or to make requests and suggestions, please contact us at fernstemcommittee@gmail.com .