The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


St. Kateri Catholic Schools announced a partnership with the University of Notre Dame and the Diocese of Toledo to enhance the educational experience at the school by using blended learning.

The partnership is to make Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School and St. Kateri Catholic Academy the first Catholic schools in the Toledo area to utilize a blended learning model of teaching. It is a style of learning that integrates technology and allows students to learn at their own pace.

“This is part of our school improvement plan,” said Stritch Principal Tim Malone. “The use of technology is a growing trend and we want to match that with our education.”

Rev. Eric Schild, President of St. Kateri Catholic Schools, speaking at an Oregon-Northwood Rotary Club weekly breakfast last week, said a school in Grand Rapids, Michigan found that their students in one of the national standardized tests, in a three-year period, went from the 50th percentile to the 94th percentile.

“That’s remarkable, and they attribute it to blended learning,” Rev. Schild said.

St. Kateri Catholic Schools will implement the new model by working with ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) Consulting from the University of Notre Dame.

“This is a great partnership that has already started to transform our school,” said Rev. Schild. “We know that this innovative approach is pivotal to the education process and want to ensure that our students are being educated in a way that prepares them for college and the professional world.

“We really believe it’s going to change our educational system because it’s forcing our teachers to look at education in a different way,” Schild said.

The blended learning initiative is led at Notre Dame by the Associate Director of ACE Consulting, T.J. D’Agostino, who has developed ACE Consulting’s blended learning and school improvement model and has begun to replicate the program in cities around the country.

“They have become experts in blended learning,” Rev. Schild said. “Blended learning is somewhat of an old concept but somewhat of a new concept with the technology that is present.”

There are four models of blended learning currently being used in select schools across the county. CSCHS and SKCA will be implementing a model known as Station Rotation next school year. This is a model that has students learn in the traditional classroom setting, as well as online and in small groups. The school will do this by continuing to give each high school student an iPad and put 10 computers in each classroom for kindergarten through fifth grade.

“It allows the kids to move ahead at their own pace, or to stick behind at their own pace, and it doesn’t cripple the teacher who has to be forced to teach at the middle level,” Rev. Schild said.

“That’s one of the things that cripples our teachers is when they have a classroom of 25 students or however many, and you have kids at this level or that level, and you have kids all around at different levels. How do they do that? How do they challenge this kid? How do they help this kid? It’s a challenge to be a teacher,” Rev. Schild continued.

Learning from ‘video games’
Rev. Schild said the new teaching model not only takes advantage of state-of-the-art technology, it makes learning more enjoyable for students and teachers. For the teachers, he said computer data often eliminates the need to grade papers on a nightly basis.

“So what has happened is there are these software companies that have these cool things out there now when it comes to blended learning, and it gives the teachers instant data on how the kids are doing. It also allows the kids to move forward so that you could have, theoretically, a kid who is in the eighth grade doing 10th grade math work.

“That’s awesome. Parents love it. It kind of replaces the need for honors class because in one classroom you could have honor students, you have the remedial work going on, everything, but it transforms what the teacher’s role is.

“The traditional role of the teacher is the sage on the stage. ‘I’m going to spew forth the knowledge, I’m going to put it into you, and then you’re going to regurgitate that back.’ Now, the teacher becomes more of the ‘guide on the side’ — which is one of those Notre Dame educational jargon things.

“Nonetheless, it’s an awesome thing. You could have a teacher over at this station who is working with a group of students and helping them through, and you have another group of students who are over here on the computers doing the content provider stuff, the software stuff, and then you have another group over here doing small group project-based stuff.

“So, it keeps the students moving. You know, the kids of today are the sound-bite generate. What’s awesome about the content is it is almost video-game like, so the kids in these various schools that are doing it, they love it. It makes them feel like they are playing a video game, and we know that is a big thing these days. But, it’s allowing them to learn at a rate that is absolutely fantastic.”

The schools will unveil more details about blended learning and the role it will be playing at SKCS next year at its annual State of the Schools address being held on May 13. This will also be a forum for parents to ask questions about the model.

St. Kateri Catholic Schools’ partnership marks a continuation of ACE’s relationship with the Diocese of Toledo’s Catholic Schools, where the University of Notre Dame has recently supported an enrollment and marketing assessment of all metro-Toledo Catholic schools and a diocesan wide teacher training effort to improve curriculum.

During the 2012-2013 school year, a one-to-one iPad program was started with the freshmen class. After the success of the program, the school implemented an iPad program for all high school students, in which each student in CSCHS was given an iPad. The school also added 30 iPads for students in St. Kateri Catholic Academy to use.

Toledo water

Do you feel comfortable drinking water coming from the city of Toledo
1383501914 [{"id":"16","title":"Yes","votes":"10","pct":40,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"17","title":"No","votes":"15","pct":60,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /communitypolls/vote/1-root.html?Itemid=174&id=7 No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...