Paola school leaps ahead in technology

Holy Trinity first in bringing Windows 8 to students


 

by Jessica Langdon
jessica@theleaven.org

PAOLA — Having earned a master’s in digital technology and learning from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Josh Cavender made technology a high priority as principal of Holy Trinity School here.

“I believe in the realm of education, technology is at the forefront of a 21st-century school,” said Cavender, who is in his first year as principal at the school.

And that’s why he made sure that when Windows 8 — Microsoft’s new operating system — was released in 2012, Holy Trinity blazed a trail in launching the program among its students.

As a result, Holy Trinity was the first school in the entire Midwest to deploy Windows 8, Cavender reported.

He believes being able to take steps like that equips students with advantages that can prepare them now for success in the future.

As a math teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and mother to Holy Trinity fifth-grader Brianna, Margaret Ball sees both sides of that equation.

“As a high school teacher, I see the advantages that students have when they come into high school with mastery of computer skills. Students have to be comfortable with the technological world we live in,” she said.

Mastering the basics and using the latest technology offers them an edge both in school and beyond, she added.

“As a parent, I see this as a huge benefit,” Ball continued. “We all want to see our children succeed in the classroom.”

Cavender reconfigured the school’s schedule to work computer classes into the regular timetable for students in grades five through eight.

It’s important for Catholic schools to maintain a competitive edge among neighboring schools through “rigorous academics” as well as their ability to stay on the cutting edge of technology, he said.

“Technology skills are vital in preparing students for high school and college, but also preparing them for the workplace,” he said.

Cavender has also added two resource teachers to the staff to teach integrated arts and to spend several hours a week working to meet the educational needs of every student, helping each reach high standards.

“I’ve been able to place 15 additional computers around the classrooms so students could have centers driven by technology,” said Cavender.

He is also excited about the two commercial wireless routers the school has installed recently to offer wireless capability in the whole building.

“Brianna is very excited to share with us all that she has learned about the computers,” said Ball, adding that PowerPoint is one of the skills Brianna has honed.

“She knows that in middle and high school she will be using PowerPoint to make presentations,” said Ball. “She has also talked about how she knows how to use Excel, make pie charts, and is much better at typing Word documents. She may be able to teach me a few things…”

Ball has been thrilled with the advances at the school and looks forward to seeing what’s next.

“My next step is to try and bring in Windows tablets to stay competitive,” said Cavender.

It’s just one example of “great things happening in small schools,” he said.

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