Parents showed their children how to utilize the latest computer technology - or more likely the children showed their parents - Sunday morning at St. Francis-St. Hedwig School.
The school held a ceremony to showcase its new Technology and Media Center, a state-of-the-art facility made possible by a $50,000 technology grant provided from the St. Francis School Foundation to the newly-merged K-8 Catholic School in downtown Naugatuck. The facility was also made possible by donated services from local vendors.
“We are very excited to usher a new era for the school and new technology for the students”, said John Geary, president of the St Francis School Foundation.
Specifically, the grant provided 30 workstations with networking and multimedia capabilities, which emphasize interactive teaching methods and current trends in computing. Additionally, each classroom was provided with interactive Smart Board Systems that include wireless technology and laptop and videoconferencing technology.
“More than one year was spent carefully researching and comparing various technologies and selecting the right combination of equipment and technology that not only looked to the future, but also incorporated practical and efficient use of the schools resources," said Eileen Cornacchia, Foundation treasurer. "We were able to avail ourselves of local generous vendors who volunteered time and helped stretch the value of our budget and conserve financial resources as well.”
One vendor, Tim Mulligan of Mulligan Electric an electrician by trade, a parishioner and parent of children at the school, donated extensive electrical services to provide a school wide electrical infrastructure upgrade to power the new equipment.
Another vendor provided computer installation, programming, design and staff training.
“We looked at the schools needs, the trending technology and were able to provide an interactive model that provides the teachers with great flexibility for the students with the latest technology with the longest life span”, said Ben Catanzaro of Idezyne, a company that donated services in designing and installing the new technology. "It’s cutting edge stuff."
Students will have opportunities for specialized learning programming available online and interactively, with video teleconferencing that will allow for technological, cultural and educational exchanges.
In addition, the foundation's grant also provided for the installation of magnetic whiteboards and Interactive Smart Technology Projectors in each classroom throughout the school. The school is now officially a "chalk free environment."
“Our classrooms and Technology Center are now state of the art and provide our students with the latest tools they need to succeed in the information age," Principal John Salatto said. "Our faculty has incorporated this technology seamlessly into an already rigorous and challenging educational environment. It’s very exciting to be a part of such a significant leap forward for the school."
After mass on Sunday, a brief ribbon cutting ceremony unveiled the new St Francis St Hedwig Technology and Media Center. The faculty showcased their classrooms and the newly installed Smart Board interactive classroom systems and students offered guided tours.
State Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, R-Naugatuck, said she was pleased with the new program in her district.
“The new Technology and Media Center at St Francis St Hedwig School is one more attribute of superior academics that this school has to offer its students and the community," she said. "The Center will provide the necessary knowledge and hands on experience so necessary in furthering their careers. My Sincere congratulations to the parish, school, parents , volunteers and foundation for making this possible."
Sen. Joseph Crisco, D-Woodbridge, told atendees Sunday that he's a strong believer that America is a "quilt," and that strong schools like St. Francis-St. Hedwig are a part of the fabric."
"It's important that we keep that quilt in place," he said.
*The St. Francis-St. Hedwig School was reestablished in 2011 from the combined St Francis of Assisi School and the St Hedwig School. It is committed to the development of programs that provide the foundation for the growth of each student as a whole Catholic Christian Child. The School is dedicated to the educational mission of the church: To Teach as Jesus did. Our Family of Faith works together to foster an environment in which each child will grow spiritually, academically, socially, physically, and emotionally both in the school community and the communities around us.*
**The Saint Francis School Foundation was established in 1980 under the pastoral direction of Reverend John P. Rohan and Edward F. Hyland, and members of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. The Saint Francis School Foundation’s mission is to make the parish school in Naugatuck self-sustaining. The Foundation raises money through targeted appeals and estate gifting programs and works collaboratively with the school and parish.
Note: Information above is contained in a news release from the St. Francis School Foundation.