By Gabe Johnson
Greetings from Assumption Catholic School in Hibbing. I hope that you are all finding time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather this summer. Even though school is out for the summer, we are very busy at Assumption.
During the months of May and June, I spent time traveling to all of the rural Catholic schools in the Diocese of Duluth. This was an opportunity to interview teachers and staff and to see what technology was used and how it was set up. Principals, teachers, and staff shared very candidly about the wonderful things they are doing in their buildings and what direction their schools were headed in. All of that data was compiled to help to create a technology plan for Assumption Catholic School.
Thanks to grants and donations from our Endowment Fund for $60,000, Parents in Education (P.I.E.) for $5,000, Catholic United for $500, Father Jim Hauver for $500, and Range Engineering Council for $500, Assumption School will begin a gigantic technology implementation for the 2017-18 school year. I have provided a little summary of the changes that our building will be going through in the summer months. Please pray for us as we continue these technology changes in our building.
MCD Solutions is currently working on setting up 17 wireless access points to blanket the area between the rectory and school. This mesh network will create a seamless flow of Wi-Fi to cover our entire campus. They also cut us a tremendous deal to service our computer issues for the upcoming year. With their flat fee, they will be managing our PCs, MAC Lab, and iPad devices.
AT&T also came through with 50 percent off protective cases and glass for our new 70 iPads that will be coming from Apple. Assumption teachers will benefit from four professional training days from Apple, as well. With these new iPad devices, our fifth- and sixthgraders will each have their own devices, we will have a mobile cart for the rest of the school, and each classroom will have about four devices.
These new tools will provide students with a better opportunity to have an individualized education that meets their own needs. Areas of weakness to be strengthened with online Web 2.0 tools and programs that will meet children where they are at. Advanced students can work ahead of their peers using the same tools.
Assumption was also fortunate to receive donations of six SMART boards through Cliffs Natural Resources and 10 new student computers through the Hibbing Chamber of Commerce’s program PCs for People.
Finally, Assumption will be starting up a Lego Robotics Club in the fall of this year for students in grades three through six. We will be purchasing 10 EV3 kits to strengthen our STEM learning. Students will learn basic computer programming skills through the creation of Lego building.
God has provided for our school, and we are so thankful for the individuals and businesses that have helped to get us to this place. We are all very excited for the changes that will be coming to Assumption this fall. God Bless!
Gabe Johnson is principal of Assumption School in Hibbing.