Seniors receive training on their new laptops.

Seniors receive training on their new laptops.

Saint Raphael Academy was abuzz last week, not just for the excitement of a new school year, but for the new technology that will become part of every student’s daily life during the school day.

All Academy students have received an HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop as part of the 1:1 technology initiative.  The laptops will allow for more collaborative work in groups, provide teachers with ways to engage students in learning and research, and prepare students for using technology in the classroom and beyond.

The technology improvements are part of the Academy’s long-term strategic plan to enhance technology offerings to ensure all students become 21st century learners.  The Academy has spent the last 18 months preparing for the launch of the initiative, and faculty received approximately 100 hours of professional development to incorporate the devices into their curriculum.  Over the summer, improvements were made to the Academy’s infrastructure in order to support the nearly 500 laptops that students and teachers will be using daily.

Saint Raphael Academy is the only Catholic high school in the diocese that is providing laptops to its students at no additional charge or additional increase in tuition or fees.  That decision was very important to the administration.

“We wanted to ensure accessibility for all of our students, and we didn’t want to have a negative impact on our families’ financial ability to pay,” said Dan Richard, principal.

The laptops will be treated as textbooks; they are on loan to each student and returned to the Academy at the end of the academic year.


Student Tech Center

Students will also have a new student-run technology help desk available to them throughout the school day. More than 20 upper-class students have signed up to staff the peer Tech Center that will be based in the library. Those students will be wearing lanyards in the first weeks of school to identify themselves to any students who need assistance with their computers. Students can also fill out a Help Desk ticket online.

In addition to receiving training on the new computers last week, all students heard a presentation by Eric Butash, from the educational non-profit Highlander Institute, about how to monitor their online profiles that are created through a person’s social media accounts, searches and postings. He urged them to think about what they are posting online and how that affects the image they want to portray to others, saying that many colleges and employers are examining a person’s online profile before offering admission or a job. He also gave advice about how they could create a positive online reputation.

Students will have no worries about losing battery life during the day; charging stations are located in all mathematics, English and Theology classrooms, and students are expected to bring their chargers. Additional outlets can be found in the computer and science labs.

Students and parents can reference the new Tech Center page (under the Academics tab) on our website for more information. Those students who were unable to pick up their laptops last week may pick them up in the Tech Center in the library.


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