In my role at Spera Partners, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with our school clients and seeing them progress in all things technology. As a result of our partnership, clients have had more time available to focus on student learning while experiencing a greater alignment between technology and curriculum development.
Lean in as I highlight St. Bede School – one of our clients that has taken their education offering to the next level.
St. Bede School
With over 260 enrolled students in grades K-8 and an 11:1 faculty to student ratio, the St. Bede School received grant funding to provide a STREAM lab (Science Technology Religion Engineering Art Mathematics) for its students and was faced with the challenge of how to build it.
They saw an opportunity to partner with us not only for guidance on selecting the most innovative equipment but also on maximizing their budget and managing and modernizing the overall technological performance of the school. Let’s take a look at their equipment challenges and our solutions.
- Shared-use student devices were nonuniform (a mix of donated Windows laptops from multiple vendors and aging Apple MacBooks) resulting in reduced productivity during class time.
- Computers in cart- or lab-based classroom setups were not functioning well nor assigned to specific pupils, interrupting the learning experience.
- Projector-based smart boards required frequent bulb replacements, while the computers running them were aging and unreliable.
St. Bede School’s STREAM lab funding became the catalyst for upgrades and improvements. They had the space set aside but needed guidance on selection and implementation to best improve the classroom experience.
We started by reviewing their budget to determine the best match for their STREAM needs that would fit within the available funding parameters. Our recommendation carried their technology offerings forward with….
- Their first 1-to-1 experience (student to device) with the deployment of Dell Chromebooks, providing reliable and consistent performance, for all students.
- Student devices standardized with Chromebooks allowing for a streamlined implementation of Google Workspace for Education.
- Adding carts for the classrooms with upgraded charging inserts to eliminate manually plugging units and/or needing additional outlets throughout the classroom.
Google Workspace for Education
The implementation of Google Workspace for Education across the environment offered seamless access to helpful Google tools such as Email, Classroom, Meet, Drive, Docs, Forms and more.
Workspace helped build digital skills, supported the school’s collaboration with shareable documents, boosted teacher productivity, and protected their data. More specifically, under the Workspace umbrella…
- Google email accounts were created for all staff and students which improved their student login set up and computer system access.
- Google Meet facilitated communications and documents for collaborative study.
- Google Classrooms positioned them nicely to weather the pandemic with remote learning capability.
Through our vendor partnership with Promethean, we introduced the ActivPanel (an interactive display panel) which was adopted as a replacement for the school’s chalk and/or white boards and projectors. The panels required no bulb changes, had zero maintenance cost for 5 years, and had a running life span of 50,000 hours.
A heightened, modernized teaching tool to help lead the classroom with interactive presentations, the ActivPanel provided a seamless yet secure user experience while offering features that responded to the specific needs of teachers, IT administrators, and school leaders.
St. Bede School’s learning environment was ultimately improved with a more simplified teaching model; so much so that the school is planning to equip each classroom with one.
Training & Ongoing IT Support
Educating the educators for a seamless rollout to students was provided by our team with training on:
- Google Classroom including how to use Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Suite.
- Implementing a process for classroom assignments and ways to better support and facilitate student learning.
- Promethean training for innovative lesson development and engagement.
And finally, our weekly, on-site support to the school’s administration and staff provided (and continues to provide) a touchpoint that allows us to stay on top of their IT needs. We helped them with everything from how to appropriately utilize donation funds that will benefit students and teachers with technology to upgrading infrastructure for better WiFi to handling technology requests.
Prior to our partnership with St. Bede School, they were a school that essentially didn’t use student computers (with the exception of a few course-specific instances). Over the course of 3 years, we evolved them into a classroom environment with 1-to-1 (student to device), shared documents, and interactive display.
Having devices accessible to implement curriculum and state of the art digital learning are key to student success. Add-in budgeting consulting, equipment selection, implementation, training, and ongoing support, and you have the reason that St. Bede School has taken their technology to the next level and can be considered a model for other schools.
If your school is looking for a partner to help you bring innovation with the latest technologies for your teachers and students, we’re here to help.
Education Technology Coordinator – Team Lead