Students entering Siena Catholic Academy’s inaugural sixth-grade class in September 2015 will receive Google Chromebook laptop computers, which they will use during their three years at the school and take with them upon graduation from eighth grade, according to a March 16 press release from the Diocese of Rochester.
The Brighton school plans to provide laptops to incoming sixth-grade students in future years as well, so that by the beginning of the 2017-18 school year all students in Siena’s sixth, seventh and eighth grades will have their own Chromebook laptops. Siena also is purchasing additional laptops to create workstations throughout the school for use by students in all grades, according to the press release.
Google Chromebooks are laptops that use the Google Chrome operating system and utilize cloud-based storage of apps and data that can be accessed from anywhere via the Internet. Siena’s faculty and staff will educate all students about Internet safety and ethical behavior online, and the faculty also will begin to prepare lessons that will utilize and integrate the students’ laptops, noted Martin Kilbridge, Siena’s principal.
“Our role as educators will evolve. While we will continue to be sources of knowledge, it will be our wisdom, values and guidance that will increasingly be in demand as we help our students navigate an online world that is both exciting and challenging,” he said.
The laptop program will allow the school community to expand its educational horizons, Kilbridge added.
“While we will continue to emphasize timeless truths and fundamental skills, the integration of technology in the classroom can lead to more collaborative learning that engages students in actively acquiring and constructing knowledge — and allow them to ‘travel’ and experience the world virtually,” he said.
As if the addition of a sixth-grade at Siena and the resulting creation of a stand-alone Catholic middle school in the diocese were not reason enough for celebration, the laptop program adds another layer to what already promised to be an exciting 2015-16 school year, noted Anthony S. Cook III, superintendent of diocesan schools.
“We are eager to welcome students to a 21st century classroom equipped with the tools to prepare students for high school and beyond,” Cook said. “Google Chromebooks truly will make a remarkable difference for these young people in a world in which technology is no longer a luxury but a necessity.”