McDonell Area Catholic Schools has a rich history of technology use over the past 30 years. All four schools are connected via a wide area network (WAN) through the CINC fiber network. In 2015, we were among a small but growing group of Wisconsin school districts that had met a national goal of 1GB of bandwidth per 1000 students by 2017. In 2017, we completed a planned network overhaul to improve classroom cabling and upgrade switches that boosted our WAN bandwidth to a 10GB backbone and gig to the desktop. Security and back-up updates in occurred in 2018-19. Additional data closet and classroom major updates are scheduled in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
In addition to a robust network, students have access to a variety of software. MACS is a Google Apps for Education campus (2011) and a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) school (2014). This means that students and staff have Google accounts that provide unlimited storage, backup, and Gmail. Alexandria (library), Class Dojo, Infinite Campus, Adobe InDesign and MS Office. Many are cloud-based and available to families anytime, anywhere.
Technology By School
All schools became 1:1 in 2020. St. Charles Borromeo has classroom sets of iPads with individual control available to teachers through JAMF Pro software. Grades 3 -12 are assigned 1:1 chromebooks. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard (Smart Board) and filtered wireless connectivity.
Holy Ghost classroom sets of Chromebooks are 1:1 and each student is able to use the device at school and if needed at home. These new devices help with the transition to the 1:1 middle school environment and with keyboarding. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard (Smart Board) and filtered wireless connectivity.
Notre Dame Middle School and McDonell Central Catholic High School are 1:1 schools where each student has a Chromebook assigned to them, so they are able to have a filtered personal device at school or home. Students also participate in PLTW. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard or large screen monitor and wireless connectivity.
MACS also supports BYOD. Students can bring their own device, an assigned device plus also make use of the 3 labs available.
The PLTW initiative added a portable lab of laptops for the high school Bio-Medical classes and upgraded a lab (library) with dual boot iMacs for the engineering courses in 2014-15. That lab was renovated as a Media and Learning Resource Center in 2015. There are additional labs at McDonell, but there need is diminishing with the completion of the 1:1 deployment. The labs are on a three-year upgrade cycle. And while we are slowly phasing out labs as we transition to personal devices, we have tripled the number of devices available to students and staff since 2012 with the addition of iPads and Chromebooks. The current k-2 student:device ratio is 1:1 and 1:1 or grader in the HS/MS.
The technology committee is made up of students, staff, parents and commission members that meet during the year to review and make recommendations on instructional technology and related issues. If interested in serving on the committee, contact us.
Classroom standardization, infrastructure, and network upgrades, as well as lab renovations, continue. A major network and infrastructure upgrade was completed in 2017-18 and 2020-22. We are in the process of upgrading our interactive whiteboard fleet after the completion of the 1:1 initiative. The Technology and Information Technology plan is reviewed annually and is scheduled for an update in 2020-21 as part of the system’s strategic planning efforts.
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Technology Newsletters: Moving Forward!