School resumes tomorrow for tens of thousands of Seattle Public Schools students after a holiday break of at least 4 days (longer for the younger students whose schools spent the week in parent/teacher-conference mode). Just before the break, more than 20 Madison Middle School students enjoyed a first-of-its-kind high-tech field trip; counselor Lauren Divina shared the photo and report:
On November 20, 2012, 21 Madison MS female 8th graders went to Microsoft as part of the IGNITE [Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution] program.
Students got hands-on experience at Microsoft with the programming language “Small Basic.” Women from high-tech careers at Microsoft helped students learn to code. They also presented about their careers, followed by a Q & A session. Students had a chance to speak with the volunteers directly over lunch, which was provided. The students were accompanied by technology teacher Mr. Rockwell, and school counselor Mrs. Divina. This is the first year that Madison MS has participated in the IGNITE program, which was introduced to the middle school counselors in June 2012.
IGNITE is a Seattle Schools program, created for Seattle Schools in November 1999. Funding is provided by federal Carl Perkins dollars, which is federal funding for non-traditional education for women and minorities. IGNITE now contributes to the funding of IGNITE as well.
The program has been running in all of the 12 Seattle High schools since 2000. We have expanded to middle schools, more each year. After winning the National Best Practice from the National ACTE, Association of Career and Technical Education organization, the Directors of the National ACTE, the National Women’s law Center, and NAPE, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, in 2007, many other schools both nationally and internationally created IGNITE programs of their own, using the comprehensive toolkit created by the founder of IGNITE, Cathi Rodgveller M.S. Ed. Cathi has been a teacher and School Counselor for 30 years. She has taught every grade level, and doing IGNITE is her passion.
Seattle Schools now views IGNITE as a Premier program and best practice for educating young women about STEM careers. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educators from anywhere, both nationally and internationally can contact the founder, Cathi Rodgveller, for information on how to start their own IGNITE group.