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St. Charles Borromeo gets computer lab

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / August 14, 1998

DESTREHAN – We are living in an Information Age, a time where we can get information from around the world at the touch of a computer key.

Today’s students must be kept abreast of the growth in technology or risk falling behind their peers. Computers have entered classrooms across thecountry and students can now conduct research through the internet what it used to take hours to do in a library.

St. Charles Borromeo Elementary School understands the importance oftechnology in today’s learning environment. The school will implement acomputer lab this school year that will help take its students into the next century.

The computer lab is a component of the school’s long-range plan conceived in 1994, integrating academic with technology. Fifteen acres of wiring arebeing installed at the school by FiberCom which is also helping with the engineering plan and networking. Funding for the lab and network camefrom the school’s Parent, Teachers and Friends organization and grants.

Monsanto donated about 30 computers and the St. Charles Parish PublicSchool System donated some of its older computers that can be upgraded.

Shell made contributions as well.

The school also got help from parents in uploading and installing software and from its pastor, Father Joseph Phuc, who has supported the school 100 percent.

“It was a true effort of support,” principal Kimberly Flair said.

When the lab is implemented at the beginning of the school year, it will provide St. Charles Borromeo with a state of the art program in thediocese of New Orleans while helping students with their education.

“It will provide them with the skills to learn how computers can be used in everyday learning and make curriculum more meaningful,” Flair said.

The labs will be used by the schools fourth through eighth graders who will be able to conduct research and learning through the internet and software packages. Flair said a technology committee will be developed toreview what additional software is needed by talking with the teachers.

All students in grades fourth through eighth will take a computer literacy class taught by technology coordinator Amada Adragna. Students willlearn about the ethics of computers, basic keyboarding skills, how to use the computer and how computers can benefit in everyday learning.

Networking will allowed the students to access information from classroom to classroom and from the classroom to the lab. Students in thefuture may be able to call in from their computers at home to get homework assignments and parents will be able to set up conferences with teachers.

The younger students in kindergarten and grades first through third will not be left out. Students in those grades have computers in everyclassroom. Programs such as JumpStart Math and Science are used. Theseprograms allowed students to learn at their own pace while teaching them basic keyboarding skills, math, science and the basic components of the computer. Computers are also used in the school’s Early Childhoodprogram, allowing students to learn developmental skills through interactive programs.

Besides teaching the computer literacy class, Adragna will also go to the lower grades to teach about computers. She will also conduct tech days,instructing teachers how they can implement technology into their curriculum.

Flair said that she sees computers being very important in education.

“They provide students with a wealth of information at their fingertips, much more so than periodicals,” Flair said. “They spark interest inlearning.”Adragna said she sees this trend continuing in the future.

“Computers provide unlimited access to learning,” Adragna said. “Theyallow the students to learn anything through the internet. They provideinstruction to the students at their own pace and all curriculums can be brought in through the computer.”