McDonell Area Catholic Schools has a rich history of technology use over the past 20 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 have 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. In 2018 we are updating security and back-ups.
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. We also have site-wide licenses for Hoonuit (Atomic Learning), Alexandria (library), InDesign and MS Office. Atomic Learning (Hoonuit), Alexandria, Google and Infinite Campus are cloud-based and available to families anytime, anywhere.
Technology By School
St. Charles Borromeo and Holy Ghost Elementary Schools have classroom sets of iPads with individual control available to teachers through JAMF Pro software. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard (Smart Board) and filtered wireless connectivity. In 2017, the fifth grade also added classroom sets of Chromebooks so that they are now 1:1 and each student is able to use a Chromebook at school. These new devices will help with the transition to the 1:1 middle school environment and with keyboarding.
Notre Dame Middle School is a 1:1 school where each student has a Chromebook assigned to them and are able to have a filtered personal device at school and home. Students also participate in PLTW. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard and wireless connectivity.
McDonell Central High School supports BYOD. Students can bring their own device or make use of the 3 labs available. After a media and technology committee recommendation, 1:1 was expanded through 10th grade. Students also participate in PLTW. All classrooms have wireless connectivity, projectors and most have an interactive whiteboard.
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 two additional labs at McDonell plus a mini-lab at Holy Ghost. These 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 k12 student:device ratio is 1.4:1 and 1.1/1 in the HS/MS. Grades 5-9 are 1:1.2.
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.
Classroom standardization, infrastructure, and network upgrades, as well as lab renovations, continue. A major network and infrastructure upgrade was completed in 2017-18. We also move forward with personal devices through our iOS, BYOD and 1:1 initiatives. 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.
See more info in our Technology Newsletters: Moving Forward!