What's it take to have a rockin technology program?
Answer: A good plan, generous backers, great support from our administration, and awesome follow-thru by our technology teacher, Mrs. Valdez! Our incredible program is a result of 5 years of hard work... thank you to all who poured themselves into these improvements!
School year 2009-2010 Focus on technology in the classroom
Mrs. Valdez was hard at work over the summer as she prepped for the upcoming 2009-2010 school year. She's reported major improvements to our phone system as well as in our classrooms.
Our school went from analog phones to new digital phones — which was funded from the school's budget. Teachers now have their own voicemail which they can listen to or elect to read thru email. This means fewer interruptions to the office and better service to our families. As teachers walk around or change classrooms, they may take their portable phones with them and receive calls any where they go. Another big plus is that we no longer host the physical phone server equipement on-site... which saves us administration expense and time. We'd like to thank Billy Compton from the Dioscese, our principal Ms. Barbosa and Mrs. Valdez for evaluating options and following throught on this important improvement to school communications.
Through a Title 1 grant, we were able to purchase projectors for each of our Kinder thru 8th grade classrooms as well as for our Music room, and Science Lab. Our friends at sister parish St. Jude Catholic Church in Allen generously donated the cables and other items needed to install the projectors. Thank you so much St. Jude!
The Title 1 grant also paid for laptops for each of our teachers as well as new airliners! Do you know what an airliner is? Not a bird... not a plane... its an electronic slate! The AirLiner wireless slate allows you to interact wirelessly with the new projectors from anywhere in the classroom. Read more about them here. Teachers can turn on their projectors to display on their wall (whiteboard or smartboard) and walk around the room making notes on the slate which is transmitted throught the projector to be seen on the wall! Students can view/copy this information on the board.... without the teacher being tied to the front of the classroom. FREEDOM! The teachers love being able to walk around the room providing assstance where its needed... instead of being tethered to the front of the classroom.
Through one of our new families to SCS, the Carlile family , we were given 30 computers with flat monitors from the University of Arlington ! These are lightly used machines that came from one of their labs. This donation allowed us to go into every classroom and remove the older computers and replace them with better ones, and replace the big heavy monitors which took up more space, were dangerous to move, and were less energy efficient. Our teachers are very happy and thankful to the Carlile family for arranging this donation from UT Arlington. Thanks UT!
We've purchased Syncronize software for the computer lab. SMART Sync lets the teacher connect her computer quickly and easily to every other computer in the lab so she can teach, monitor and collaborate with students. We can help students stay on track by locking student screens and restricting access to the Internet, games and applications, including instant messaging, e-mail or other computer programs. The teacher can observe all student computer screens without leaving her desk. She can take control of their computers to guide them through a task or problem. She can share her desktop with every student in the room. Demonstrate a concept, view a webpage or play a video that all students can see on their computer screens. She can organize students into groups where they can work on assignments and share screens without leaving their computers.
None of this is accomplished without a lot of effort, so we want to thank all those that made this happen! We thank our administration including our Principal Ms. Barbosa for supporting and encouraging this project. We thank Carol Mayo from the Diocese for placing the orders and for everything else needed to make the many arrangements. Mrs. Valdez functioned as project manager while her husband Jorge Valdez, her son Jorge Jr. and our great appreciated Mr. Dominguez picked everything up at the Diocese main office. Mrs. Valdez's children Jorge Jr. and Sophia worked very hard that Saturday during the school clean up/installation day along with St. Jude parents and others from SCS. Thank you to all... it was truly a group effort.
School year 2006-2007 Focus on our network
The lab was wired again to avoid wireless issues but the wireless antenna was kept. The teacher's computers were replaced with the ones removed from the lab (since they were in better shape). Older computers in the classrooms were donated and replaced with newer ones. Two more wireless desktops were set up in the Science Lab and one more in the Library. Another upgrade for the library took place at the beginning of this year also.
The CCD office was made part of our network, giving them access to the Internet (a drop was set up for this purpose). The computers in the rectory office were also replaced and we are currently working on making that office part of our network.
What's one of the biggest single improvement to our network this year? Yes... a T1 line! That and a better phone system is currently being added to the school. An electronic white board/overhead projector were installed in the computer lab (thanks Jorge Valdez) and this is only the first step to reach our goal of an electronic white board/overhead projector in each classroom.
Website: Mrs. Leclerc, a volunteer from industry, completely overhauled the school's website to use the rSchoolToday software. This allows a novice to make updates to the website. This means that all updates no longer need to go thru Mrs. Leclerc, and that our secretary, teachers and parents can learn to make updates to the parts of the website they control. Expanded features include an awesome calendar, news articles, lunch menus, photo gallery, directory, FAQ, forms, forums, surveys, group email, search, and the ability for parents to customize "My View" and subscribe to information concerning their children's activities.
Progress, progress... feels great!
Our students have benefited greatly. They enter high school truly prepared to go head-to-head with students from any school. This we say with pride and thanksgiving... for all these blessings.
Thanks for making it come together Mrs. Valdez!
School year 2005-2006 Focus on the teachers
Another big project involved setting up a small wireless lab in the Science Lab with six lap tops and a network printer for Team Target. These are also available for any teacher's use.
Library expansion included adding more books and quizzes for the Accelerated Reader software based program which was again upgraded to its newest version.
Website: Mrs. Leclerc, a volunteer from industry, expanded the school's website, and continued to teach Web Publishing to our middle school students. As a class assignment, the middle school students assisted in reporting and populating content on the various areas of the school's website.
School year 2004-2005 Focus on a new computer lab
The main focus on their plan was to upgrade the computer lab. Upgrades included hardware, software, cables, and the design of the lab. First step of the project was to find a bigger room with a good AC system for the lab. Second, the power problems on the second floor of the building were fixed, and more power outlets were installed in the new lab. Twenty eight refurbished computers and 30 flat panel monitors were purchased (28 for the lab, one for the office and one for the library). Licenses for MS Office, Kid Pix, Inspiration, Kidspiration, and Mavis Beacon typing program were purchased.
The new computer lab was set up as a wireless lab with the help of all the people mentioned above plus Jorge Valdez and Lupe Moreno. Upgrades for Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math, and Grade Quick were also purchased. A server filter system was set up in order to give us control of the Internet content (Comsifter). Next came the training of the teachers to help improve their computer skills.
During the 2005 summer Billy Compton and Mrs Valdez worked diligently to refurbish twenty computers that were donated from the IRS. We gave these computers to the teachers and made them part of the school intranet network. In order to make this transition, we installed cabling and drops in each classroom. That's a LOTTA cable!
Website: Mrs. Leclerc, a volunteer from industry, revived our defunct website. She also taught "Web Publishing" to our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders on a volunteer basis.