What a way to start the new millenium! In the summer of 2000, we began a 3-year effort to upgrade the technology in our school. Well, actually, the planning started a few years before than when the Technology Committee was formed to assess our needs and implement a plan to insure that our students will always have access to the latest technology available.
Phase I started in the 2000-2001 school year with a brand new computer lab. We spent $100,000 to purchase 30 new Compaq computers, two new printers and an overhead projector. We also purchased supporting items like software, new furniture and air conditioning for the lab. High speed internet access was added to start the second semester.
Phase II occurred in the 2001-2002 school year, and included the addition of two new Compaq computers in every classroom, along with computers in the library, school office and cafeteria. The entire school is now networked to share resources like printers and internet access. E-mail accounts were also added for the entire faculty.
Phase III This phase is a bit different than the previous two. For the 2002-2003 school year, we didn’t just add more computers to the school. We talked with all the teachers and combined their feedback from the first two years of this plan with the existing technology plan. The result is that we purchased fewer new computers than originally planned, and we spent more money on software this year in order to streamline school operations and enhance classroom curriculum. The Phase III improvements included:
- We bought 8 new computer systems for the following locations:
- principal’s office
- secretary’s office
- art room (2 computers)
- kindergarten (4 computers in 2 classrooms)
- We installed an printer in the secretary’s office.
- We installed a scanner.
- We installed a new desk and workstation in the computer lab.
- We installed various grade-appropriate software applications in the classrooms, giving the students and teachers more programs to use in their curriculum.
- We installed new library automation software from the Follett Software Company. Every book in the library was then bar coded and recorded in the computer. Students were issued an ID card with their photo and an ID number (the same number used in the Lunch Cashier System described below). This card must be presented when checking out books. This entire system allows us to easily track the location of all library books at any given time.
- In the cafeteria, we installed the Lunch Cashier System to automate the tracking of student lunches. Then as the student eats hot lunches at school or purchases milk, they present their ID card (the same ID card that is used in the library, see above) and the funds are automatically deducted from that student’s account.
- All students in the school were issued photo ID cards. Each card carries a bar code which corresponds to the student’s ID number. The student uses this card to purchase hot lunch or to check out books from the library.
None of this would have been possible without the fund-raising efforts of parents, students, faculty and Our Lady of Lourdes parishioners. Our students are now enjoying the very latest in classroom technology. They are able to use the internet for research projects. They can create reports and write papers using current software.