St. Rose of Lima Academy in Short Hills has transformed an old computer room into an advanced Technology Learning Center to bring technology-enriched programs into the daily academic curriculum for all Academy students. The project, completed over the summer, was the result of a successful $100,000 fundraising effort by the Academy.

In addition, the project vastly improves the Academy’s network capabilities and makes the Pre-K through 8th grade school building completely wireless.

“The entire project reflects the Academy’s goal of being a leader in technology-based learning,” said Steve Athaide of Maplewood, a member of St. Rose of Lima Academy’s Advisory Board and chair of its Technology Committee.

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To make sure Academy students can make full use of the new technology center, St. Rose is teaming up with Seton Hall University in a reciprocal partnership agreement. Seton Hall will help the Academy integrate technology into its core programs and curriculum through a number of innovative, technology-driven initiatives that are under development and will be announced shortly.

“The Seton Hall partnership is a very exciting initiative, as we see the opportunity to significantly broaden and enrich our programs and content. We see it giving the Academy a significant competitive edge over its peers, and providing our Academy students unique and unmatched learning opportunities, better positioning them for high school, college and beyond,” said Joseph Ferraro of Livingston, president of the St. Rose of Lima Academy’s Advisory Board.

The Technology Learning Center, fully funded by Academy parents, parish families and parish contributions, includes 26 new student computers with 22-inch multi-touch flat screen monitors. The multi-touch aspect provides touch screen interactivity using multiple fingers at the same time.

The project also included a complete renovation of the classroom space, from sleek new furniture to stylishly curvy track lighting and a new wide-screen SmartBoard for the instructor.

The Academy also invested in network and bandwidth enhancements to provide more reliable service at dramatically enhanced speeds, expansion of wireless network to the entire building, and upgrades to network security and content-filtering. In addition, iMacs are being introduced for art and music instruction, and the pre-K and kindergarten now have dedicated iPads. Plans call for additional iPads and the rollout of new and exciting educational applications.

“The students are all very excited about the new computer lab,” said Bob Miller, St. Rose of Lima Academy’s computer education teacher. “The new computers have Windows 7, Office 10 and other updated software.  This will enable the students to learn using the latest software on computers that are fast and state-of-the-art.  The larger screens will allow the students to have multiple programs working simultaneously and the touch screens will make using certain functions easier.”

St. Rose was able to pay for the new center after the Parent Advisory Board resurrected the school’s annual fund for the first time in several years. The Advisory Board’s Development Committee set an ambitious goal of $100,000 and hit it virtually on the nose, with an impressive 57 percent of Academy families participating, along with several parish families and school alumni. The parish also made a contribution to pay for new wireless capability for the Academy building, and the parish Knights of Columbus chapter also contributed funds it had raised.

“At a time when most public schools are cutting programs, it’s a testament to the St. Rose of Lima community that we can make an investment of this size,” said Martin Daly, a St. Rose Academy Advisory Board member from Maplewood who chairs the board’s Development Committee.

If you are interested in interviewing St. Rose of Lima Academy Principal Diane Pollak, Advisory Board President Joseph Ferraro, or others regarding the Academy’s new Technology Learning Center, please contact Jim O’Neill at 469-733-2571 or 973-569-7054. You can also reach him by email at ejoneill28@verizon.net or oneillj@northjersey.com.

St. Rose of Lima Academy in Short Hills, N.J. is a fully-accredited co-educational academy, with more than 200 students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8. Established in 1869, it is one of the oldest Roman Catholic elementary schools in New Jersey.