It has been a while since I’ve written. The past 10 months has been a time of rapid change, adaptation, and reflection. As the world continues to face challenges, it seems daunting to think about what role to play to support those who are truly struggling. I find myself pretty privileged.. Privileged to be able to continue to work.. privileged to be able to support my own children as they navigate school and learning.. privileged to be sharing responsibilities with a partner.. privileged to have opportunities.. In fact, while others may have been facing challenging times with employment and uncertainty, I was transitioning into a new role and starting to a new adventure. I am so grateful for what I have.. and I often think about what I must do to leverage my privilege for others..
I have been reflecting a great deal over the past 9 months while I started to rapidly respond to urgent needs in education. I became incredibly committed to creating Pre-University transition programs in Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Computational Thinking & Coding for students entering into Engineering and Computer Science programs, paid work-integrated learning programs for high school students for the summer, free mentoring and tutoring programs for Grade 11/12 math and physics courses, and developing partnerships with school boards to support educators. I have embarked on a learning journey that at times feels like a sprint with a shifting finish line. I have been learning new skills.. building new networks.. building our infrastructure.. and creating opportunities to tackle persistent inequities in STEM opportunities. Curious about what I’m up to? Go to: https://lassonde.yorku.ca/kindergarten-industry-k2i-academy
When I was a classroom teacher, I used to wrap up every school year by cleaning out my classroom, reflecting on the school year, and writing a note to myself about the things that worked well that school year that I wish to strengthen and continue and the things that made me pause that might need an upgrade. I used to put this note in my desk drawer so that when I returned after the summer break, I would be reminded about the new possibilities and opportunities that are ahead of me.. a fresh new start..
As we start 2021, I find myself wondering about what the fresh new start will be.. I was told that making a commitment by writing it down makes you more accountable.. creating intent.. and allows you to go back to it when you might need a reminder.. So I’m writing my 2021 commitment here..
- Slow down the sprint to a marathon and pace yourself. Change isn’t going to happen overnight. Tackling the systemic inequities in STEM Education will take time.
- Commit to Action. We cannot wait any longer. System inequities in STEM Education has historically pushed certain people out. We need diversity in STEM to tackle complex problems and design new innovations that work for all people.
- Build reciprocal relationships with community partners. We must design sustainable and robust solutions to STEM education. This is only possible when we design WITH people.
- Create a movement. Working with educators, parents, communities, industries, government, and organizations is critical in this work. Tackling systemic challenges requires a multi-sector approach. Working this way is hard work and many barriers will get in the way. Be ready to face these challenges together.
- Stay committed and focused. Remember what we are doing this for. Be ready to pivot when needed and accept that sometimes, we will need to say “not right now”. The journey will have many detours and roadblocks. Remember, it is okay to encounter challenges that can’t be solved right now.. archive these for future opportunities.
I am looking for a renewed start to a new year. I enter 2021 with optimism and look forward to working with our partners to co-build a movement that will make an impact!
LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER!