"An indispensable tool in the career decision-making process" - Saint Mary’s Academy

JP Michel

We're grateful to the hundreds of educators, like Jennifer Laforest, who have advocated to use the Challenge Cards over the years. 

Here is a letter than Jennifer wrote about her experience:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter to advocate for the Department of Early Childhood Education’s consideration of investing in a valuable resource that would greatly benefit the grade 9 Personal Wellness course.

Over the past three years, I have taught Personal Wellness at Saint Mary’s Academy. During this time, I have seen the positive impact of the changes outlined in the High School Renewal document, led by our learning specialist, Mr. Andrew Culberson, across the educational community in our province.

While it is important for students to explore potential career paths, I firmly believe that high school students should choose their careers based on their interests and passions. As an educator, I strive to avoid imposing specific career paths on my students. Instead, we engage in discussions about these important decisions in
class, encourage experiential learning and utilize exploration tools such as MyBluePrint.

Having said that, when our principal introduced us to the Sparkpath program, she provided us with a manual card sort activity, which proved to be valuable for our classes. However, when multiple students wanted to use it simultaneously, it became time-consuming. Over my three years of teaching Personal Wellness, I discovered the possibility of scheduling virtual sessions with Renee Michaud, a dedicated career coach from Sparkpath. Renee consistently delivers engaging sessions, demonstrating how careers can align with problems individuals enjoy solving. These sessions are enriched with resources and materials for us to integrate into our curriculum. Subsequently, we were introduced to the digital card sort, which the students overwhelmingly preferred due to its interactive nature. This method not only enhances user experience but also provides valuable and engaging insights. Upon completion of the card sort, students receive personalized information based on their selected interests, which they can download and
save. I guide students in incorporating these results into their MyBluePrint accounts as part of their portfolio-building process, which is a consistent aspect of my lesson plans each year. However, this year, I was informed that Renee could not conduct the online sessions as before, and the card sort was no longer approved by the ministry. The grade 9 class, deprived of the Sparkpath session and card sort, expressed deep disappointment upon learning that other grade 9 classes had previously accessed these resources.

I am expressing how effectively I integrate this resource into my class, and I am confident that other schools in the province would also benefit from its implementation. Could there be a way for teachers across the province to access Sparkpath resources if the Department of Education was to invest? Often,
teachers receive resources that are not practical. For me, Sparkpath is an indispensable tool in the career decision-making process based on problems students like to solve, and I believe it would be beneficial to explore potential integration between this resource and MyBluePrint, enabling students to automatically connect their results to their portfolios.

Jennifer Laforest

High School Teacher at Saint Mary’s Academy

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