Posted by: resparish | January 30, 2013

St. Katharine Drexel Initiative Comes to Resurrection School

12 Raise Standards_logo v1[The following is taken from a message sent this week to our school parents by our principal, Mrs. Jacque Wright.]

I want to share some exciting and interesting news with our community that was announced Monday evening by Bishop McGrath, Mrs. Kathy Almazol, our Superintendent of Schools, and Fr. Brendan McGuire, Vicar General. Resurrection has been selected to participate in the St. Katharine Drexel School Initiative to launch in the fall of 2013.   During this initial phase, we will join five other schools, Holy Spirit, Most Holy Trinity, St. Patrick’s, St. Joseph’s Mountain View, and Catholic Academy. This initiative is named after St. Katharine Drexel, an American saint renowned for her commitment to Catholic education.

What does this mean to us? The initiative is the Diocese of San Jose’s response to the need to utilize technology as an additional tool to enhance student learning.   As you know, we have been using various forms of technology in the classrooms and our iPad implementation has been a model for other schools in the Diocese. This initiative allows us to take what we have been successful at and move it to the next level. The initiative will include specific programs that will engage our parent community, restructure the parish school governance model, and provide financial sustainability for our schools.   A key component of the initiative is the Blended Learning Model, which will be implemented in every K-8 classroom.

Blended Learning is an approach that incorporates individualized, online learning with face-to-face classroom instruction.   Again, this is similar to what we are doing in our classrooms today with the iPads, but as we look forward, the technology will be embedded in every classroom, instead of sharing the iPads as we do today. The Diocese is working to design and implement a Blended Learning Model for each of the initiative schools. This model will seek to continue improving and enhancing our already high academic outcomes for all students by providing technology-driven, individualized instruction that complements the teacher’s instruction.

In partnership with Santa Clara University, a Blended Learning summer academy will be developed and launched in June 2013 to provide training to all of our Initiative School teachers and administrators to enable delivery of the Blended Learning Model. Additional sessions will be provided for our teachers throughout the school year.

The long-term goal of the St. Katharine Drexel School Initiative is to make all of our schools more effective, efficient, and sustainable. It builds on what we, as Catholic Schools, do well educationally, and helps us use the power of available technology in ways that increase student engagement, academic learning, and higher-level thinking skills. These are many of the necessary tools our students need to have when they enter high school, and we know many of the Catholic high schools have successfully embraced technology in the classrooms. We are well positioned here in Silicon Valley to pioneer a new approach with innovative best practices and processes, and to be an extraordinary example of what the future of education will look like for our students here in the Valley and across the country.

Our entire school community will be involved in the planning and implementation of this new initiative. The Diocese has hired a consulting firm: O’Meara, Ferguson, Whelan and Conway to work with us, and to meet with our parents to answer questions via parent information sessions planned for the spring.

This is an exciting time for us and we are honored to be part of this initial initiative that will include the support, training, and program development – truly a wonderful gift for us to be a recipient of. As I hear more information, I will share it with the community, and in the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.