(Photo: Former student Samantha Pierre at the opening of Zida Academy in Stittsville. Photo by Devyn Barrie)
The grounds of Zida Academy were really jumping over the weekend.
Probably because students were busy checking out a park of Bluetooth-enabled trampolines, just one of the many high-tech features available to students of the new private school this year.
Zida held an open house Sunday, offering parents and students a look at the school ahead of its first year of operation. The property at 1 Goulbourn Street had undergone months of renovations following the 2014 closure of another, unrelated private school.
Director of operations Sheng Lan told StittsvilleCentral.ca most of the students this year come from Zida’s other schools in Centrepointe and Barrhaven, plus a few new faces.
Now, what’s up with these trampolines?
“We partnered with Springfree and they developed an educational game system that’s connected to the mat, using Bluetooth,” he explained. “So when you jump on the mat, you use sensors that connect to [a tablet computer] and you can solve math problems, do fitness activities, just by jumping.”
For example, to solve a math problem a student would jump on a portion of the mat which corresponds to the correct answer. Lan says it’s a great way to get students out of the classroom and get much-needed exercise.
One project Lan is particularly excited about is Zida’s upcoming online school. There will be tutoring offered as well as some language courses. Because the courses will be available to anyone in the world with an internet connection, Lan says it’s an edge to give their school a global impact.
“I think this has always been one of our dreams, to open up our school beyond the city of Ottawa.”
One visitor on opening day was Councillor Shad Qadri, who says he supported the project since Lan approached him for help with zoning.
“What he was proposing at the time, although we didn’t see the [specifics], we knew something good was going to happen.”
Qadri says he is always glad to see new school projects in the area, private or public.
“The more facilities like this that open up and invest their time, their resources into teaching our neighborhood [and our] kids, that’s wonderful.”
Samantha Pierre was a student at Zida’s Centrepointe location since she was seven. Now, she teaches music, dance and theatre. She’ll be a part of the Stittsville school’s staff.
“Centrepointe first got me started into singing.” She said of her experience. “When my parents first found that I wouldn’t shut up, they put me into music lessons and I really grew out of that… the school was my first influence into the music world.”
Pierre is quite a success story for Zida. In the last few weeks she was crowned winner of pageants Miss Teenage Ottawa and Miss Teenage Canada. Before them, she was a runner-up in Miss Teenage Ontario. Pierre says the shows are not the stereotypical beauty pageant, rather more focused on personality and talent.
Registration for Zida Academy is open all year round via their web site.