Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Affording the Classroom of the Future": an Article in THE Journal with Excellent Insights from Juan Diego Academy at Holy Rosary School Tacoma's Principal Dr. Uhl

Report on Education.  Do take a moment to read this article on how schools are changing and improving the learning experience by utilizing technology... plus learn how they can finance the upgrades needed. 

Dr. Timothy Uhl, the principal of Juan Diego Academy at one of our state's oldest schools, Holy Rosary in Tacoma, WA, did a terrific job in this interview with THE Journal Magazine.  He talks about grouping students in pods instead of rows, and how to attract grants to fund basic tech needs. At a school that will be starting a two way immersion program for incoming Kindergarteners this Fall (all subjects taught in both Spanish and English) this is clearly a school to watch.

The article reads in part: "As the nation's K-12 schools consider the equipment and space requirements of tomorrow's classrooms, many of these institutions are also looking at how to pay for the new learning spaces.

Uhl said he's enthused by the thought of running a 21st century school with learning spaces that are loaded with instructional technologies and designed in a way that engages students and promotes collaboration. Turning that thought into reality could be challenging for Holy Rosary School, which is working with a 120-year-old facility and limited financial resources.

"We don't have wealthy parents or financial support from the community," said Uhl. "A lot of our students don't pay full tuition rates, so we're pretty strapped financially when it comes to purchasing new IT or upgrading existing equipment."

Holy Rosary School is one of many nationwide that has had to get creative on its path to the 21st Century classroom. In many rooms, for example, whiteboards were installed over existing chalkboards. And upon rolling out a 1:1 laptop program for 7th and 8th grade students this year, teachers quickly realized that existing desks no longer worked in the learning environment.

"We're finding that the desks are impractical for laptop use and looking for other options," said Uhl. To afford new desks and IT equipment like smart boards--which are currently being installed in some of the school's classrooms--Uhl said the institution often turns to foundations for help. "This is a 120-year-old school with a lot of history behind it," he said. "We're essentially a 'valuable charity' that foundations want to support."

Thank you to Bridget McCrea of THE Journal for writing about Juan Diego Academy at Holy Rosary School of Tacoma.

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