After spending 3 years as an iCademy parent, Robin joined the staff at iCademy in January 2021 as our first-ever Community Passport Coordinator. She’d previously spent time leading bible studies and pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities, and when we opened up the position our teachers knew she’d be a great fit! She’s helped to flesh out and expand the Community Passport Program at our school, benefiting students both in and out of the classroom.
To start with an easy question: What is the Community Passport Program?
The Community Passport Program is a relatively new program at iCademy that gives students alternative ways to earn elective art, music and PE credits outside of school while helping to cover activity costs. Students can earn credit for extracurricular activities they already participate in, or if they want to learn something new we’ll help them find the resources they need.
What does the Community Passport Coordinator do?
The Community Passport Program is only as good as our partnership network, and that’s where I come in! If a student is interested in participating in an art, music, or PE-related activity that might qualify them to earn credits, I work as a liaison between potential partners and the school to integrate them into the program. I facilitate all aspects of the approval process for potential partners to allow our students to earn credits through them.
Why might students consider participating in the Community Passport Program?
It can alleviate time pressure for students by eliminating extra classes or work. So, if a student wants to do ballet, instead of worrying about doing physical exercise for school, their instructor can get accepted in the Community Passport Program. Once they’re accepted, all your students’ dance lessons will count towards their PE credits at school, plus iCademy can help pay for them!
What’s your favorite thing about being iCademy’s Community Passport Coordinator?
The impact on students! We assessed the program at the end of its first semester, and so many students and parents reached out to let us know how much they loved it. The students had so much fun learning new skills they otherwise may not have had the time to pursue, and the confidence they gained from pursuing something they loved was so inspiring.
What are a few interesting electives students have taken through the program?
Oh, there are a lot of neat ones. We’re partnered with a game studio where students can learn about digital art, which you won’t find at most schools! As a PE credit, we had a few horseback riding enthusiasts at an equestrian center. They got to muck stables and do other manual work, but they also had the opportunity to work with the horses directly. Really, whatever students are interested in, we can find something that earns them credit.
How do businesses or individuals benefit from partnering with iCademy’s Community Passport Program?
When individuals, companies or organizations partner with iCademy, they get added to our comprehensive list of partners organized by county and by elective. When we share that list with iCademy students and their families, it opens up their services to additional students who may not otherwise have learned about them. In short, we can help community businesses gain greater recognition by putting them in front of other potentially interested students.
What’s something you wish all iCademy parents knew about the Community Passport Program?
It’s an opportunity! It’s a really great opportunity for your student to learn a new skill that they might now be able to participate in otherwise. It’s a nice, low-risk way for students to have new experiences while reducing some academic stress by merging an extracurricular activity with academic achievement.
If you could give current or potential iCademy students one piece of advice, what would it be?
This is a special time in your life where you have the opportunity to try new things in a way that you may not have later, for any number of reasons. If you’re even a little interested in something, you should try it! If you’ve always wanted to learn how to do something, give it a shot! This is the perfect time in your life to do something you’ve never done before, and you never know if you like it until you try.
What do you do for fun outside of iCademy?
I love to do anything creative, especially if it involves design. I’m fascinated by spatial design and how the use of space can make people feel. Outside of that, I enjoy leading bible studies. My husband and I have two cats, a dog, and four chickens, and I love to spend time outside with them gardening. It helps me feel more grounded and connected to the world.