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Technology Plan

2007 – 2010 School Year

Executive Plan Summary

St. Matthias School, a Catholic elementary school in Ridgewood, Queens, with a current enrollment of 339 students in Grades Pre-K through eight, has been offering basic computer instruction to its students in grades 1 to 8 for several years. The goals of that instruction were to familiarize the students with basic technologies, provide an opportunity for interactive learning and reinforcement, and introduce them to the unprecedented advantages that they as students have as a result of the available technologies. The responsibility for this has been primarily in the hands of the designated computer teacher.

During this time, emerging technologies and their application to education, business, and science have profoundly altered and expanded the ways in which business is conducted, and have removed barriers to global competition. In order to fulfill the school’s mission of preparing its students to successfully position themselves in the ever-changing world, St. Matthias School is embarking on a new phase of integrating these technologies and their multimedia capabilities into the core curricula across all instructional levels.

The expectations imposed by the more rigorous standards promulgated by the New York State Department of Education demand that academic institutions utilize the immense power of technology to assist the students in achieving higher academic standards. The multimedia capabilities will enable the school to prescribe a more individualized curriculum and consider individual learning styles, needs, and strengths.

Critical to the success of incorporating technology into the core curricula is the ability of the teachers to acknowledge the conceptual benefits of this approach, embrace it actively, and develop the ability to appropriately adjust or expand their teaching methodologies. Therefore, professional development is an essential component of the technology plan.

The plan which follows will serve as the blueprint to guide the implementation of this phase, the ultimate goal of which is to create a dynamic educational environment. This will encompass equitable access for students and teachers to appropriate multimedia technologies, seek to advance academic achievement and promote effective communication while maintaining ethical and Christian values, and eliminate limitations previously imposed by distance.

The plan will be submitted to the New York State Education Department for approval.

Introduction

In a recent report, "Futurework Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century", the United States Department of Labor predicted that the nature of employment and the skills required would be redefined as a result of technological developments. The technological revolution has exploded global competition, creating a worldwide increase in the demand for skilled workers while decreasing the demand for less skilled workers, especially in the more technologically advanced countries. The 20 occupations predicted to have the highest earnings potential will require at least a bachelor’s degree.

The fundamental social and economic challenge is to ensure that young people are adequately prepared to fully participate in the opportunities created by technological advancements. To respond to the challenge, each and every academic institution must develop a strategy/action plan which will address their efforts to facilitate the acquisition of the required skills, integrate technology into the curriculum, and empower students to become self-directed learners capable of demonstrating adaptability, flexibility, resourcefulness, and creativity. Students and teachers alike must be able to fully embrace and utilize a wide range of technological resources.

This technology plan which follows, describes the school’s mission, its beliefs about technology and the role of technology in the educational process, and the goals to integrate technology into the school’s curriculum. Through this plan, we strive to outline a comprehensive approach to the use of technology to spark a life-long interest in learning, enable the access to and manipulation of information, and facilitate the expression of ideas in a creative and resourceful manner.

Background

St. Matthias School, founded in 1909 and operating on the same site since its inception, provides a comprehensive learning environment for a multicultural population of students from the Ridgewood and Glendale communities in the borough of Queens, New York. Offering instruction in grades Pre-K through eight, the school has a current enrollment of 339 students, and meets the needs of those students with a staff of 20. The school sustains itself on an annual tuition charge of $3,255 per student (Catholic rate).

In 1997, St. Matthias School was accredited by the Commission on Elementary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. As part of that accreditation process, the school developed a computer technology goal which called for the installation of IBM personal computers; to date, that goal has been achieved.

St. Matthias School utilizes a rigorous curriculum, which generally exceeds the requirements established by the New York State Department of Education and the Diocese of Brooklyn. The school is proud of its accomplishments, past and present, and aspires to instill a love of learning while challenging each student to meet his/her potential.

Mission Statement

General School Mission Statement

St. Matthias School is committed to providing a complete learning environment for its enrolled students and maximizing each child’s potential, by furnishing each child with a solid academic foundation; and equipping them with the knowledge, critical-thinking and problem solving skills, and other techniques required to maintain their Christian values and successfully contribute to and function in a perpetually changing society.

Technology Mission Statement

St. Matthias School is committed to preparing its teachers and students to meet the challenges of a society which has become increasingly dependent on technology; and demanding that individuals possess high-level critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and communicate effectively employing a wide range of technologies. Through the integration of technology into the curriculum at all instructional levels, students will be assisted in developing these essential skills through independent and team activities, designed to achieve proficiency in a range of technological applications, and incorporating technology as a tool into the learning process.

The administration, staff, students, and parents of St. Matthias School believe the following:

  • All learners, including teachers, must develop skills in managing complex information effectively and ethically, through the proficient use of technology, in order to adapt to a rapidly changing society and information needs.
  • Technology is an important resource to motivate students toward self-directed learning, accommodate diverse learning styles and a more individualized curriculum, and promote more complex critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • The computer teacher and the classroom teachers are guides to direct students in the learning process rather than being the sole conveyors or dispensers of facts and information.
  • Technology can increase the student’s control over their own learning, encourage and enable independent exploration, enable participation in interactive instruction and collaboration with other student’s without the limitations or barriers of distance, and provide opportunities for multimedia experiences. Students will be able to create, access, exchange, and analyze information readily from electronic sources.
  • Technology must be integrated into the curriculum and not taught in isolation, so students in each subject can comprehend the ability of technology to empower/advance their capabilities in that subject, and move them to higher academic standards.
  • Technology can expand the tools available to teachers by providing state-of-the-art technology to prepare/deliver lessons, and track student progress

The school’s Administration, staff, and the parent community pledge their support of this plan and its goals.

Current Status of the Technology Program

St. Matthias School currently offers a computer class once a week to Kindergarten through eighth grade students. Taught by a dedicated computer instructor, Grades K to 4 students have a thirty-five minute period and Grades 5 to 8 students have a forty-five minute period of instruction. There are two computer labs utilized for the classes, one with 17 Compaq Pentium II computers for Grades K to 3, and one with 27 Pentium I & II PC’s for Grades 4 to 8. The current student to computer ratio is 2:1, and the goal is to achieve a 1:1 ratio. There are also 2 PC’s located in the Faculty Room which are utilized as a resource by staff members during free-time to further develop their technology skills. Every computer is currently protected by a Smart Filter filtering system and the Norton Symantec Anti-Virus program is installed on every machine. Our students and their parents from Kindergarten through eighth grade sign and return an Acceptable Use Policy at the beginning of every school year.

The computers run Windows 98. Grades K to 3 utilize specific subject-related programs that reinforce what is being taught in the classroom. Grades 4 to 8 utilize a typing program to reinforce keyboarding skills, Microsoft Word for Windows to teach word processing, and database and spreadsheet development, and other subject-specific software to reinforce the curriculum. The primary classroom teachers remain with the class during the lab period and collaborate with the computer teacher to build their knowledge base and to recommend activities to meet curriculum needs. In the school’s main office, the secretary utilizes a networked Dell Intel Celeron computer for word processing, retrieving e-mail, and other secretarial functions. The principal’s office houses an Acer Intel Celeron desktop for administrative tasks, and the Conference Room provides access to a Dell Intel Celeron desktop for tuition management.

Goals

Goal 1: To identify and pursue funding opportunities in support of current and future technology plans.

  • Strategy 1: To continue to collaborate with the St. Matthias Educational Foundation to plan specific fund-raisers to offset technology expenses.
  • Strategy 2: To contact the St. Matthias Financial Committee and request that the school’s annual budget include the costs for upgrades, maintenance, purchasing of software and staff development.
  • Strategy 3: To continue to upgrade the current computer system on a consistent basis.
  • Strategy 4: To file timely applications for all future E-Rate funding opportunities.
  • Strategy 5:To contact the parents of enrolled students and solicit their assistance in seeking corporate donations for technology from their employers.
  • Strategy 6: To explore technology funding or grant opportunities through the local district for the construction a new Library Media Center at St. Matthias School including Home Depot, Alive in Hope, Learning Technology, etc.

Goal 2: To increase the faculty’s awareness of the extent to which the Internet and technology can be integrated into the curriculum.

  • Strategy 1: To provide ongoing staff training until staff members are comfortable with the use of the computer.
  • Strategy 2:To provide time for staff members to attend technology and software workshops that focus on utilizing academic technology programs in the classroom. Staff will be able to apply technology to curriculum (math, social studies, etc.), they will use multimedia resources to enhance learning, and they will use networked systems to share information and on-line resources to supplement instruction.
  • Strategy 3: To have the faculty of St. Matthias attend staff meetings to discuss Diocesan run programs and workshops that utilize the Internet in all subject areas. Teachers will attend Diocesan Workshops, Eisenhower Courses, Title IIa Graduate Courses, National Trade Shows/Conferences in the local area and use in-house experts to conduct local workshops as provided opportunities for learning.
  • Strategy 4: To have staff members learn and use a computer generated grading system.
  • Strategy 5: To incorporate use of the Internet in daily activities and lessons to reinforce the New York State Learning Standards.
  • Strategy 6: To create a school web page maintained by a designated individual who will post information such as: school closings, a weekly calendar, copies of letters sent home, student rules and frequently asked questions, etc.
  • Strategy 7: To expand to a full website with links to other appropriate sites, and enable and encourage teachers to post extra credit assignments, projects and homework on the website.
  • Strategy 8:To incorporate the use of an e-mail system so teachers can effectively increase their communication skills on the computer.

Goal 3: To encourage students to use the Internet as a resource tool to expand their knowledge and improve their curriculum-specific critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills.

  • Strategy 1: To continue to have each student read and sign an acceptable use policy for the safe use of the Internet each school year.
  • Strategy 2:To allow students to explore appropriate sites that reinforce subject material across the curriculum.
  • Strategy 3: To allow students the opportunity to use presentation software, such as Microsoft Power Point to make effective group and individual presentations.
  • Strategy 4: To increase the proficiency of each student in using the computer to search for, retrieve, and use available information.
  • Strategy 5: To encourage students to utilize the Internet at home and at school.
  • Strategy 6: Students will use software to assist them in organizing brainstorming efforts.
  • Strategy 7: To continue to teach new skills and provide opportunities for our current school Media Group to work on group presentations with the help of a faculty advisor.

Goal 4: To utilize all available funding monies to upgrade our existing network.

  • Strategy 1: To purchase new computers and software for the library to upgrade its function as a true media center.
  • Strategy 2: To wire the library for Internet access so it can serve as another resource tool in our school.
  • Strategy 3: To upgrade our existing PC’s to newer wireless laptops in conjunction with the creation of our Library Media Center.
  • Strategy 4: To continue our wiring project so that it includes all classrooms, (the third floor is complete wireless/wired–continue downward over the next few years.)
  • Strategy 5:To encourage teachers to choose and purchase software using NYSSL funds and all other available funds.

Evaluation

St. Matthias School will evaluate periodically the implementation of this plan to insure that the goals are being met, especially in the following areas:

  • relevant and effective curriculum connections
  • noticeable student expectations for student outcomes
  • frequency of use by staff and students
  • skill level of students and staff
  • consideration of new and emerging technologies, both in software and hardware

Our current Technology Plan was approved by the New York State Department of Education. The plan will expire in June of 2007. The Technology plan will be reviewed and evaluated by the Technology Committee on a semi-annual basis and will be revised as needed.

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