St. Bruno Stands TALL in Education!

In case you missed it, St. Bruno School scored a major victory recently on the technology front! With the help of St. Bruno Parish leadership, we are on the path to becoming one of the most technologically advanced schools in the region, beginning with the 2011-2012 school year!

You may have seen it already in one of the local newspapers, but if not, here’s a copy of the release that was sent to the Pinckneyville Press, DuQuoin Evening Call, Southern Illinoisan:

Pinckneyville’s St. Bruno Catholic Elementary Stands TALL in Education

Founded in the Spring of 1887, the St. Bruno Catholic Elementary School in Pinckneyville is either THE first, or certainly ONE OF THE first schools built after the formation of the Diocese of Belleville in January of 1887. In either case it has, arguably, the freshest, most up-to-date approach to education technology in the region.

St. Bruno School has made a major commitment to technology in the classroom through a program dubbed ‘Technology and Leveraged Learning,’ or TALL. Centered on individually paced learning through Apple iPads and MacBook laptops, the program won’t change the curriculum or displace proven success, for which the St. Bruno faculty is so well-known, but will give teachers additional opportunity to challenge students at each learner’s unique level within the same grade – and across the school. With assistance from St. Bruno Parish and private donations, the School’s Technology Committee was able to fund a proposal it had spent nearly a year researching and vetting as part of the school’s strategic planning process. Wireless mobile carts will be used to serve students in their classrooms, reducing the interruptions associated with moving classes to a separate computer lab, while interactive, wireless projectors will enable teachers to ‘pass-around’ on-screen engagement to any member of the class. Through online educational subscriptions, the St. Bruno faculty will also be able to bring in world-class instruction and thought leaders on a range of subject matter and to augment lesson plans. A new math specialist has also been hired and each classroom will now feature interactive white board projection systems as well.

Tech committee co-chairs Donnie Laur and Craig Williams lauded the efforts of all involved, including committee members Amy Epplin, Rich Robb, Leah Winters, Nicole Wynn and Leslie Small, but also were very thankful for the support from members of the Parish, Father Brian Barker and the Parish Finance Council. Williams said, “We’re very excited about the future here for our students, which is why we’ve made the investment in the tools they’ll need to succeed now, and not later. Our world has become a very much more connected village than it was just a few years ago, and certainly much more so than when most of us, as parents, attended school. Today, our students face a different reality than did we, competing with kids, not only from the region and the state, but from around the world for spots in top universities and for the best jobs. Preparation for that kind of future cannot be over-emphasized.” It has been said that the students of today are very much akin to natives of the digital landscape, while most parents – certainly any who are older than 28 or 30 years old, might be thought of as digital immigrants. “The metaphor is crystal clear when you hand your ten-year old your iPad, and in 15 seconds, he’s figured it out,” says Williams.

The school made the decision to move forward with iPads and MacBooks, in part, due to the one-to-one computer initiative spearheaded by Pinckneyville Community High School. PCHS students will each be equipped with an Apple MacBook Pro beginning this Fall, and as Laur put it, “We just felt the natural extension from Apples-to-Apples made sense for our students. Young learners like, and respond well to, the tactile experience of the iPads, while older students with greater academic demands, have the versatility of a high-performance laptop. Everybody wins. Transitioning from the iPads to the MacBooks, and from 8th grade with Apple to High School with Apple is a win-win for Pincknevyille students, but the preparation is just as critical whether a student is moving on to PCHS or DHS.” Laur added, “Access to the Apple software, such as iLife, opens up exciting new ways to engage students through digital storytelling featuring photography, video, music, and good old-fashioned imagination to create dynamic projects, etc.”

St. Bruno Elementary School serves students from Pinckneyville, DuQuoin, Tamaroa, DuBois, Todd’s Mill, Sparta and much of the unincorporated area in-between. These Parishes all contribute to the support which makes educational advances like TALL possible.

To learn more about St. Bruno standing TALL in education, contact Tech Committee co-chairs Don Laur at donlaur@gmail.com or Craig Williams at craig.williams@communitylink.com.