Director and CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum Janet Carding speaks about the learning opportunities the museums partnership with the Toronto Catholic school board, officially launched Jan. 31, will offer students. Photo by Evan Boudreau.

ROM opens doors to knowledge for Toronto Catholic students

By 
  • February 5, 2013

TORONTO - A new partnership between the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Toronto Catholic District School Board will open doors to enhanced knowledge for more than 12,000 students.

Through the partnership, which is an extension of the pre-existing ROM Community Access Network, the museum will distribute 12,500 tickets across the school board allowing students and their chaperones to access the facilities free of charge. The tickets, to be redeemed throughout February, provide students the opportunity to participate in conducted or self-guided tours of the museum while visiting with their school.

“This opportunity helps to level the playing field for our students across the city and gives them a chance to experience learning in a unique world-class museum,” board chair Ann Andrachuk told those attending the Jan. 31 launch of the partnership at the ROM. “Together our shared responsibility through opportunities like this partnership will remind our students of our history and encourage them to develop a respect and appreciation for their past.”

The board’s partnership and development department contacted the ROM in the fall of 2012 to determine how better to meet its mandate to provide equal access to learning opportunities for all of its students. ROM staff jumped at the opportunity.

“We are very pleased to be able to provide this experiential learning opportunity for students to further enhance their curriculum and their own learning,” said Janet Carding, director and CEO of the ROM. “It reflects our commitment at the ROM to strengthen our public access and build community. We are a resource that is here for everybody and we become stronger the more that we are used.”

In addition to the tickets being distributed across the Toronto Catholic school board, the ROM will be also increasing the number of community access tickets distributed through the ROM Community Access Network by 4,000.

Both the school board and the ROM used the event to kick off Black History Month, which the board calls African Canadian Heritage Month. Students from Our Lady of Wisdom School, St. Maria Goretti School, Blessed Mother Teresa Secondary School and Loretto College School performed culturally relevant songs and dances following the brief speeches made by Carding and Andrachuk.

As the event drew to a close, Britney Jones, a Blessed Mother Teresa student who sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” while St. Maria Goretti’s child and youth worker Wendy Jones signed the lyrics, reflected on her first visit to a museum.

“For me it’s to broaden my experience,” said the Grade 12 student. “It’s good to get to know a lot of the cultures because there is so much out there now and I feel that it could help, it could benefit (students), knowing different cultures.”

Jones wants to further broaden her cultural knowledge during her next visit to the museum, planned for the Family Day long weekend.

“Sometimes it isn’t what you learn in the classroom but what you see outside the classroom and it sparks that interest that propels our students to want to learn more,” said Andrachuk.

“It’s outside the classroom, the bigger world, that (students) want to learn about.”

 

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