We are delighted that our grant request of $36,000 for 120 Chromebooks has been fully funded by The Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Foundation. This grant will allow us to provide each student in grades 4 to 8 with their own Chromebook laptop, known as a 1:1 device program.
This initiative is part of a multi-year technology plan for our school. Clearly delighted with the news, our Principal, Mr. Pellechia, shared, “Our new 1:1 Chromebook program is part of our commitment to giving our students the very best that technology and education have to offer in a 21st century learning environment. The collaborative and cloud-based opportunities, mixed with the imaginations and innovation of our students and teachers, will open up a whole new educational experience.” Teachers use Google Classroom and Google Apps for Education for assignments in core subjects, also, digital textbooks are quickly replacing a backpack full of printed materials.
Middle school science teacher, Mr. Malone cites many benefits of a digital rich learning environment, stating, “The 1:1 program will dramatically impact the daily operation of our class. With immediate access to research-based websites and a world of information at their fingertips, students can more efficiently search, share, and store information, as well as collaborate more effectively on group projects.” We have made significant upgrades to our technology program over the past few years. In 2013, we constructed a $330,000 interactive learning center, the iLC, which serves as a digital hub for our school, housing a computer lab and library. Deploying a 1:1 Chromebook program is the next step in our technology plan. In the past year, we upgraded our wireless infrastructure and installed whiteboards equipped with interactive projectors in every classroom.
Fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Gregorini expressed her gratitude to the Knott Foundation for “equipping our digital-learners with the tools to nurture critical thinking and problem solving. Providing each student with a Chromebook is also an opportunity to teach responsibility, cyber citizenship, and most importantly, how to be prudent consumers of technology.” In language arts, she sees Chromebooks playing an important role in the creative writing process, stating, “Research sparks creativity. Students can instantly connect with the world of the past, examine actions and ideas of the present, and discover what might affect them in the future. This all motivates critical thinking and awakens their curiosity to learn. Thanks to the Knott Foundation’s generous gift, writing education at OLPH has been given a digital face-lift!”
The Chromebook grant was submitted this summer. Our proposal competed with approximately 150 other non-profits during the first phase of the process, which is sending a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). The Foundation approved our LOI and invited us and fifteen other organizations to submit a full proposal. The process included a site visit with Mrs. Theresa Knott, and providing the Knott Board with a detailed case for support, implementation plan, financial reports, enrollment analysis, technology plan, and summary of the financial support we have from our constituents. We were told that factors that played in our favor include the optimal use of our iLC, which they helped fund in 2013, stable enrollment, a strong and well written proposal, and consistent success with fundraising and development initiatives. We are delighted to have the support of the Knott Foundation to help us continue to provide the very best for our students.