St. Rose of Lima Academy in Short Hills hopes to raise $60,000 this year through its annual fund drive to purchase 60 iPads for teacher and student use in the classroom. The Academy launched its 2012 fund drive at a recent reception in the academy gym.
The Academy combined the launch of the fund drive with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Technology Learning Center that includes 26 new computers with 22-inch multi-touch flat screen monitors. The technology center was made possible through last year’s annual fund, which successfully reached its goal to raise $100,000.
The academy also dedicated its renovated library in honor of the late Rev. Edmund G. Bernauer, who spent six years in residence at St. Rose before he died in 2010 at 74.
The planned purchase of iPads not only follows on the heels of the Technology Learning Center in 2011, but also technology upgrades that vastly improved bandwidth for the Academy and made the entire pre-K through 8th grade school building wireless. In 2008, the academy opened a state-of-the-art science lab, and just a few years ago completed a renovation of the academy gym, nicknamed the Ravens Nest.
The new iPads will further the Academy’s goal to be a leader in technology-based learning.
“A school like this one is so far advanced to many other places,” said Msgr. Kevin M. Hanbury, Newark archdiocesan vicar for education, who attended the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremonies. “And that only comes about because of the special partnership between administration, faculty, parents and the parish staff. You are a model school to this archdiocese.”
The academy hopes to raise $60,000 this year in part by boosting participation among alumni. During last year’s annual fund, the academy achieved a 59 percent participation rate among enrolled academy families. Parents organizing the fund drive hope to push that rate even higher this year. “It’s not about how much you give, but about showing your support and how that inspires other to give as well,” said Kim McCormack, a St. Rose parent from Maplewood and an annual fund organizer.” Everyone really can make a difference. The only way to keep pace is to continue the spirit of improvement and that’s where the annual fund comes in.”
Athaide said the iPads would be purchased in waves as soon as annual fund donations start coming in, so that they can be put to work in classrooms quickly. Some of the money will go towards a dedicated fund to purchase education-focused applications that can be downloaded onto the iPads. Teachers, in coordination with Bob Miller, the Academy’s computer education teacher, will test out various apps in the coming months to determine which would be most useful and how best to integrate them into the academic curriculum.