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Classrooms go high tech

By March 7, 2016 September 11th, 2019 No Comments

If you read the vision of Holy Cross, offering a high quality, state of the art education is part of that vision. And now, thanks to individuals from All Saints Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas, our students and teachers are being given the tools and skills to do just that.

Over the years, Mike Albritton, Dean of Academic Studies at All Saints Episcopal School, and former principal Grace Williams of Holy Cross School, had had several conversations. The conversations all centered on one big question:  Given limited resources and students with widely varying academic needs, how do we best serve the children?  Caring staff, wise leadership and sufficient resources are three keys, with resources being the key that an external partner could best help with. So we looked at ways to use technology to get the best educational results, looking for ways for over-stretched staff to reteach students who struggled and to challenge those who excelled.

These conversations resulted in a workshop held in January, where Mike, his colleague Bob Kenyon and Bob’s wife Carla demonstrated how our teachers can use chrome books in the classroom.  Our computer teacher, Mr Aaron, is playing a key role to help the teachers get the most out of the equipment by helping them use google apps for education.

Teachers learning to use chrome books for differentiated education

Teachers learning to use chrome books for differentiated education

But the workshop also revealed that the school needed to upgrade its internet so that more students and teachers could go online simultaneously. So in March 2016 Bob and Mike returned to wire the school, putting in an additional 5 wifi access points, giving wifi access to all our classrooms.  The speed of the internet will also be increased from 2mbps to 25 mbps.

rewiring

Wiring the classrooms for internet access.

The chrome books also effectively expand the computer lab, allowing two classes to use computers simultaneously.

Students using the new chrome books in the classroom

Students using the new chrome books in the classroom

Once again we’d like to thank Bob and Carla Kenyon, the Holy Cross Education Foundation, and HERO for donating chrome books.

Any further donations of chrome books are gratefully accepted, as each extra book allows more students to learn.

We hope this will be just the beginning of an ongoing partnership between teachers at Holy Cross and staff at All Saints Episcopal School.

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I always find the story behind the story as interesting as the main story itself. Here’s the stories of how Mike and Bob became involved at Holy Cross.

Mike Albritton:

My family first joined the 2007 All Saints’ mission trip to Holy Cross.  It was simply life changing.  I saw faculty and children working hard to learn.  I saw volunteers doing their best to help.  I felt great love as imperfections were overlooked and good intentions were celebrated.  Over the years I’ve seen my boys become men as they labor strongly in the hot sun and learn to provide for children weaker and younger than themselves.  And I’ve seen Holy Cross children become youth as they study and learn and grow under the tutelage of caring Holy Cross Teachers.  My mischievous mother, a twinkle in her eye, always used to say, “I wish I were born rich instead of just so good looking!”  If I could I’d give a million dollars to provide the resources Holy Cross students and teachers deserve.  But my gifts are my humor and my passion for teaching.  And so, like the little drummer boy in the Christmas song who could offer nothing but his drumming at the Savior’s birth, I bring what I can and joyfully trust others to play their parts.  What a merry little band are we, the students, families, faculty and supporters of Holy Cross.  It’s an honor for the Albritton family to be part of the team.

Bob & Carla Kenyon:

My wife Carla came to know San Pedro 15 years ago when she chaperoned a scuba trip of students from Wichita Kansas. I had the good judgement to marry her 7 years ago. She spoke non-stop about returning. We spent the entire month of July here in 2012, 2013, and 2015. We contemplate retiring to San Pedro. Our church in Frisco TX (St. Philip’s) had done mission trips to Holy Cross and suggested we drop by. We dropped by with supplies of batteries and vitamins but felt a calling to contribute more substantially. We waited. I then took a job at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth as their Director of Technology. As if by divine intervention I learned that All Saints’ Episcopal Church and School was heavily involved with Holy Cross. Carla, Mike and I came down over Thanksgiving (November) with 10 Chromebooks. We all taught lessons using this technology and offered a workshop for the teachers. Carla is the Mathematics chair at Parish Episcopal in Dallas and has a great handle on using technology to teach math. The trip was prompted by Suzanne Kent, Foundation member and past All Saints’ School Trustee and church vestry member.