Local News Archive
Print Issue: August 24, 1995
Catholic Schools Upgrade Technology For The New Year
By Kathi Stearns, Staff Writer
ATLANTA--As the doors to 14 schools of the Atlanta Archdiocese open to students and faculty this year, it is evident that improvements in curriculum, personnel and facilities have been made to better serve the needs of faculty and students.
Over 5,000 students are expected to attend Catholic schools in the archdiocese, according to Maureen Kane, superintendent of schools. Ms. Kane has returned to her official duties after serving as acting principal at St. Anthonys elementary school during the 1994-95 academic year.
William Bedford, Ph.D., will serve as the new principal of both St. Anthonys and Our Lady Of Lourdes Schools in Atlanta as they initiate their consolidation of administration and faculty in the specialized areas of foreign language, music, art and computer science. Both schools will continue in their current locations.
Joan Tiernan, principal of Our Lady of Assumption (OLA), Atlanta, has established a special services department to meet the needs of both the gifted and learning disabled. Two teachers with degrees in learning disabilities have been hired to work with those students; one teacher will work with the gifted.
Catholic Schools have done a very effective job of working with the students in the middle, Mrs. Tiernan said. I feel we have done a less effective job of working with the students at the very high and low end of the spectrum. As a Catholic school we need to be open to the needs of all our students.
OLA also has established an internal core program, composed of five teachers who will serve as a crisis intervention team. You never know when your school community is going to be faced with a tragedy, said Mrs. Tiernan. If there is a death in the community or a crisis we now have a support system in place to help the school community work through it.
The school has also built a new playground which will accommodate approximately 90 children.
St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, has reconfigured the dean of studies position into two divisions. Ruth McCullough, who has served as the dean of students since 1990, will now share discipline responsibilities with John Cobis, who has served as director of admissions for the last four years. Mrs. McCullough will supervise the non-athletic activities of the school and assist with the administrative admission duties, Cobis will retain substantial responsibilities in the off-campus aspects of admissions.
Father John Hopkins, LC, has been added to the campus ministry team and will serve as school chaplain. Father Hopkins was born and raised in Cazenovia, N.Y. He received his bachelors degree in philosophy and his masters degree in theology from St. Thomas Aquinas University, Rome, Italy. He has worked the last four years in the retreat ministry and in family counseling in Washington, D.C.
Were delighted that Father Hopkins has joined our St. Pius community, said Donald T. Sasso, principal. He already, in just a few days, has had a significant and positive impact on our community. Having, along with Father Lopez, two priests on our staff will help us tremendously with ministry to our school community.
St. Thomas More School, Decatur, will teach Spanish to students in grades K-8 and will continue the development of a Writing Across the Curriculum program. Basically weve decided to continue the work weve been doing, said Tom Collins, Ph.D., principal.
We are committed to serving a diverse population and meeting the needs of the kids on both ends of the spectrum. Most of all we want to continue building a sense of community. We are planning to use the school-wide liturgical celebrations and Olympic projects to build community, Collins said.
Sister Margaret Thomasine, SNDdeN, will serve as assistant principal at St. Thomas More.
A random survey of some of the archdiocesan schools indicates that many principals have made substantial investments in technological equipment and personnel as they prepare their students for the 21st century.
OLA has purchased lap-top computers for each full-time member of the faculty so that they will become even more computer literate and teach computer skills based on daily personal experience. Mrs. Tiernan is hoping that by the end of the year each teacher will computerize lesson plans and grade records.
Christine Foley, principal at St. John the Evangelist School in Hapeville, had her office and the faculty lounge transformed into a computer lab. The lab provides students and teachers access to 18 networked computers. A project-based curriculum will be implemented so that students utilize their computer skills in all of their classes.
We are committed to providing a quality education and preparing our students for the 21st century, Mrs. Foley said. The new lab will better enable us to do that.
St. John Neumann Regional School (SJNRS) has installed Macintosh multimedia computers in the computer lab. A full complement of instruction and reference software and CD-ROMS offer curriculum enhancement in reading, math, science, social studies, word processing and keyboarding. Word processing software geared to each grade level makes it possible for even the youngest students to prepare computer-generated reports.
Existing Apple-GS computers have been distributed in the pre-kindergarten to fifth grades for use within the classrooms. Each middle-school classroom has CD-ROM-equipped, IBM compatible computers which permit teachers to select software tailored to each subject area.
We want our students to feel comfortable on both the Macintosh and IBM-compatible computers, said Sister Dawn Gear, GNSH, principal. To accomplish this we felt we needed to expose our students and faculty to both systems.
The library/media center has been redesigned in SJNRS to expand seating, table area, floor and shelf space. In addition, a loft which will serve as a reading or research room has been constructed. An existing conference room in the library has been converted to a resource room, providing an area where enrichment and remedial activities may be conducted with individuals or small groups of students.
St. Jude the Apostle School, Sandy Springs, purchased 20 computers with 486-processing ability and CD-ROMS for their computer lab. Existing Apple II-E computers were moved to kindergarten, first- and second-grade classrooms. A technology coordinator has been hired to oversee the networking and computerization of the school.
According to Barbara Poole, principal, over one-half of the faculty took computer classes on their own, and all faculty members attended an in-service seminar on computers during the summer.
The world we live in is technology based, said Mrs. Poole. The current technology provides many opportunities for self-directed learning that our students need to be able to explore. Ultimately Id like to see our students working on the Internet, but we want to make sure we can safeguard access before we jump into that.
Students at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Atlanta, will be surfing the Internet with 20 new Power Macintosh computers, according to principal Margo Wolke. We are going to allow them to go on-line with National Geographic, Mrs. Wolke said.
The administrators of Christ the King School in Atlanta spent the summer researching the possibility of networking the computer lab, library, school office and classrooms.
When Atlanta welcomes the Olympics next summer the school children of the archdiocese should be well prepared because of the special programs to be held this school year.
St. Jude will present a cultural Olympiad entitled Project Peace throughout this school year. Students will study the contributions of Native Americans in October, African-Americans in January and Jews in April.
Not only do we want to teach our students an awareness of the struggles that all of these people have endured, but we also hope to make them aware of the many gifts they have shared, said Mrs. Poole. We hope that the children will grow in sensitivity and develop a Catholic-Christian response to peoples and situations they encounter.
IHM has also embraced the Olympics as its theme for the year. Each class has been assigned a country to study in depth. In April the school will sponsor an Olympic week which will include a field day, food, music and native costumes from foreign counties, and student presentations of the information learned about each country to the rest of the student body.