Technology upgrades are high priority in schools

Friday, September 25, 2015 - Updated: 7:00 am

Our Lady of Grace

The school is embarking on a preschool-through-eighth-grade initiative to expose all students to creative problem solving by introducing them to interdisciplinary projects that use 21st century skills. The skills are taught through an emerging STREAM approach that combines the areas of science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math to design projects and solve problems collaboratively.

As a first step in a multi-year implementation of STREAM, Our Lady of Grace is bringing new advances to science and technology programs. The library was updated in the summer to include a media center where resources such as iPads and Google Chromebooks will be available to teachers and students. And the school’s wireless Internet and website were upgraded.

A STREAM committee has outlined a path to create a strong STEM curriculum that will be enhanced through design-based projects to add the elements of religion and art. The school is already a participating member of the Carnegie Science Center’s STEMExcellence Pathway, and their resources will enhance the current curriculum.


Holy Sepulcher

A new program has been implemented to allow students to develop a loving, trusting relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a hands-on faith formation program developed more than 60 years ago in Rome by Scripture scholar Dr. Sofia Cavaletti, uses three-dimensional materials, models and biblical texts to pass on the faith to children, starting at age 3.

The program, led in the school by faith formation director Brenda Hartzel, differs from traditional religious education programs in that the goal is building a relationship with God and not in memorizing facts.

Lessons include the geography of Israel, liturgical colors, the articles of the Mass found on the altar, and Scripture passages of the life of Jesus from birth to death and resurrection.

Another goal of the program is to allow the children to meditate on passages from the Bible with questions from the catechist to facilitate understanding and invite further meditation and exploration of the passage at a later time.

Holy Sepulcher enriches the religious education component of its curriculum from preschool through second grade.

Vincentian Academy

For 12 consecutive years, 100 percent of Vincentian graduates have continued their education at prestigious colleges and universities across the country. The Class of 2015 earned more than $8 million in college scholarship awards.

Now in its 83rd year, Vincentian continues the tradition of education in the spirit and charism of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. A ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the high school offers advancements in technology that take students into the 21st century with the addition of Chromebooks that extend learning beyond the classrooms, and a newly renovated chemistry lab.

St. John the Baptist, Plum

Students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade participate in Snapology, a mixture of activities for children, mainly using building materials (such as Legos, Duplo Blocks, etc.) that combine play with education.

Technology enhancements include: TechnoKids, computer lessons in which students apply knowledge to analyze information, collaborate, solve problems and make decisions; Google Chromebooks are provided to middle-school students; and teachers provide blended learning opportunities that encompass online and in-person learning experiences.

During the last school year, St. John the Baptist students began a new service learning curriculum, providing opportunities to use critical thinking and collaboration to meet the diocese’s curriculum standards and address real-world issues.

St. Louise de Marillac

K-8 students have access to Windows-based computers in their classrooms, an Apple computer lab, with a couple of iPads, and two carts of Chromebooks. At the end of the last school year, elementary-level students started using Kindle Fire HDs, thanks to a grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins Tablets In Education program.

This year the school is adding additional Kindles to supplement the program, and adding a cart of iPads so more students will have access. St. Louise also has a policy in place for students who choose to bring their own devices to school.

Outstanding Catholic students for the 2015-16 school year will be recognized starting in the Oct. 23 issue.

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