• Fair Chance Learning

Why Students Came in On a PA Day



Over the last several years I’ve had the chance to support and witness positive changes occurring in the classrooms of Lakehead District’s public schools. Over $5 million dollars has been invested in information technology, laptops, tablets, robots, and other educational technology tools for public schools. What’s more exciting is the invaluable training and support provided by Fair Chance Learning for our staff and students, such as the Student Innovation Summit.

On November 17th, 150 Lakehead District students from grades 6 to 8 attended the Second Annual Student Innovation Summit during their Professional Activity Day (PA Day). The Student Innovation Summit was offered in partnership with Fair Chance Learning and Microsoft as a unique opportunity to share and experience the transformative power of educational technology directly to our students.


At the Student Innovation Summit, students engaged in hands-on activities with the latest educational technology during breakout sessions, heard from STEAM experts like Fair Chance Learning’s Derek Tangredi during a keynote address, and experienced a true conference-like setting. It was a day full of high energy and curiosity for students as well as the educators, facilitators, and myself who were present.

In speaking with Michelle Probizanski, Principal of Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute and Chair of Lakehead Public Schools Information Technology Committee, she shared her enthusiasm about the [Student Innovation] Summit, “we are very excited and pleased to once again be able to provide this very unique opportunity for our students during this PA Day.”


Students had the chance to partake in activities related to computer science and coding through Scratch game design and programming, Hour of Code, and Micro:bit coding on the pocket-sized microcomputer. As a computer scientist, it was particularly exciting for me to see these young students participating so enthusiastically in programming and coding, especially Hour of Code, which allows youth to learn the valuable skills of computer science in a fun, stress-free way.

In addition to the learning experience this day provided for students, they also received prizes like micro:bits and Rubix cubes to encourage their immediate practice and development in computational thinking. Students left ready to take their new knowledge and learning skills back to share with their schools. While the Student Innovation Summit lasted only one day, the skills and knowledge students learned will impact their educational journeys and classrooms for many days to come!

About the Author:


Hi, I’m Gino Russo! I’m passionate about technology, education, being active in my community, and am a proud father of two amazing girls. Currently I’m the Information Technology Consultant Teacher for Lakehead Public Schools. I received my Bachelor’s in Education degree from Lakehead University and my Master’s degree in Computer Science at Capital College in Maryland. I’ve worked as a teacher and software programmer for the Thunder Bay Regional Cancer Center. I’m continuously looking for ways to use my knowledge, experience, and passion to build up my community in Thunder Bay and am currently working on expanding blended learning and communications technology use within the Lakehead Public School Board.

This post is part of a series dedicated to celebrating computer science education. Watch for a new computer science-focused post every day during Computer Science Education Week to inspire you to try coding and deepen your learning through coding.

#CSEdWeek #Learntocode #codetolearn #coding #codingintheclassroom #CanCodes #microbit

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