Technology Update for 2017-18

Dear Parents and Students,

I hope you and your families are enjoying the start of summer and have had time to relax and enjoy God’s creation following a productive and exciting school year.  Before we are too far from thoughts of school, we want to share with you information about an upcoming change to the way we manage access to technology at Catholic Central to take effect at the start of the new school year. 

As many of you are aware, Catholic Central piloted a Chromebook program last year, providing opportunities for students to use these devices in a variety of classroom environments.  We then gathered survey feedback on the functionality of these devices in our learning environment as compared to the iPad.  That survey data, alongside other factors, led our decision to remain with iPads for the 2017-18 year.  This survey data also revealed a concern shared among students, parents, and teachers regarding distractibility; namely, the access to games and non-school-related apps can challenge students’ focus and interfere with learning.  

In response to this concern, both Catholic Central and West Catholic will begin utilizing school-managed Apple IDs, a development recently introduced by Apple. This means that, because school manages the Apple ID, the school is also able to manage the apps that are installed on our iPads.  Teachers, and students with teacher approval, can request apps that they want to use for educational purposes in addition to our current list of school-provided apps.  Catholic Central’s management system will then push these apps to the devices.  Students will no longer be able to download apps without this step.  It also means that apps already installed by students outside of school-managed apps will no longer be available on school-issued iPads; however, these apps will remain available on any other personal device linked to their personal Apple ID (iPhone, personal computers, etc.). 

In order to accomplish this, we will collect iPads from sophomores, juniors and seniors to convert iPads to the new management system and return them to students on the following schedule, providing the least possible disruption:       

  • Seniors should bring their iPads with them as they arrive for their COREX Retreat on August 12th.  We will collect the iPads before they leave for Camp Blodgett, and return them as seniors arrive back from COREX weekend on August 14th.  
  • Sophomores and juniors should bring their iPads to their Orientation on August 25th.  We will collect the iPads during Orientation and return them at the start of the first day of school on August 28th.   
  • Freshmen will receive their iPad ready to use on one of two Freshmen iPad Distribution Days:  
    • Students with last names A-K on Monday, August 7th, from 9AM to 10AM at Cathedral Square, 2nd floor.
    • Students with last names L-Z on Tuesday, August 8th from 9Am to 10AM at Cathedral Square, 2nd floor.

Freshmen will be instructed on how to access tech resources, how to manage their device, and how to be good digital citizens.  Parents are also encouraged to attend a Parent Orientation during this time to learn about how the device is used at school, student responsibilities concerning the device, and tips on how to manage device use at home.  

If you have any questions about this process, please contact our new Instructional Technology Specialist, Mrs. Danielle Bouwhuis (daniellebouwhuis@grcatholiccentral.org), who will be happy to assist you.  

As we enter year four of our 1:1 program, it is clear that technology has helped to transform learning, allowing students to learn, create, research, and communicate in innovative, individualized, and expressive ways.  And it is also clear we want to reduce access to non-school-related games and apps to minimize distractions to learning. This move is intended to help students make the best use of the powerful tools and resources available to them while also helping them manage some of the challenges inherent in being part of our digital world.    

As in the past, we will continue to provide instruction in Digital Citizenship that promotes Catholic Social Teaching, fosters responsible use of technology, expands learning, and helps students learn to manage their time.  

Thank you for all you do to support and strengthen our Catholic Central community.  We are keeping you in our prayers over the summer, and we are excited to see you in August to launch our 2017-18 school year.  

Blessings,

Greg Deja

Principal/CEO