Looking Toward the Future

Jan. 12-18, 2006
Looking Toward the Future
By Rome Catholic School staff
SUN photo(s) submitted
Rome Catholic School Strives to Prepare Students for Ever-Changing World

ROME,NY — Midway through Catholic Schools Week, nearly 100 members of the Rome Catholic School community will convene for a historic summit. Buoyed by the successes of the new pre-school through 12th grade institution, the group will spend the day identifying Rome Catholic School’s mission statement. The event, entitled “Rebirth of the Mission,” will be the beginning of a process intended to sculpt the school’s future.

With a nine percent increase in enrollment and the first in seven years, it is time to position the school for tomorrow. The participants represent the school’s community with students, parents, faculty, staff, board members and alumni all taking part.

Principal Christopher Mominey stated, “Often, people will ask me what I think has caused such a turn around. I always respond that it is the members of the Rome Catholic community that have rallied around this school and are responsible for its success. I usually add the kids are the ones who make us realize that what we do here is important as they grow in both their educational and moral lives. Without the kids, who remind us every single day that God is present in our midst, we would not and could not exist.”

The school thrives in a number of areas today with a stellar football season, high scores on standardized state tests and strides in technology integration. At RCS, it would be commonplace to see a five-year-old picking out his ABCs on a paper keyboard. In the school’s backyard, one might see a 4th grade student using a wireless hand-held unit to record the findings of native plant life.

Upstairs, a middle school student builds on this learning by using similar portable technologies to examine global positioning and map coordinates. By 12th grade, students are comfortable in the Paraclete Room, a completely wireless Internet Café outfitted with laptop computers. It would not be unusual to find RCS upperclassman pondering the practicality of emerging technologies and computer usage in the workplace. A class may be in an active debate about society’s reliance on technology or Internet copyright issues.

Known in the Mohawk Valley for making strides in technology, Rome Catholic School has begun a comprehensive initiative to infuse technology into every aspect of the school day. Selected by the Diocese of Syracuse as a model school, RCS has emerged as a leader in technology integration in the classroom.

Reaching beyond the diocese, instructors from surrounding public schools have looked to RCS for guidance in blending technology with traditional subjects. RCS representatives were involved in creating the 135-page Diocesan Technology Plan. With careful attention to the unique needs of the school and the school community, this plan was tailored into RCS’s own technology initiative. An ambitious plan, the initiative will not only update and ensure the compatibility of equipment, but will bring innovative technology to each classroom and ensure that the teaching staff is comfortable incorporating it into the curriculum.

Newly-appointed Technology Integration Manager Sandra Engle oversees technology efforts. A strong grants writer, Engle has ensured that Rome Catholic School partnered with other organizations in order to receive more than $100,000 in technology funding. By directing some of the funding to teacher training in the new technologies, she ensures that teachers are at ease with technology usage. These successful ventures have resulted in providing Smart Carts for the school. Rolling high-tech presentation units, each cart is complete with internet access, a laptop computer and an LCD projector and can be brought into any classroom.

With SmartBoard interactive white boards, teachers have a creative and engaging avenue for presenting ideas and encouraging enthusiastic student participation. Physically bringing the equipment to the students where they can use it in a variety of subject areas is key to the program. Any number of portable devices in the building offers space-saving, mobile features with the functionality of laptop computers.

Building on these and other school accomplishments, Rome Catholic’s technology initiative will be moved forward from the recent addition of state-of-the art computer clusters in each elementary classroom and the wireless Paraclete Room to complete the vision of a wireless school with each student equipped with a laptop computer.

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