Erik Silbernagel enjoys access to on-line learning on a Chromebook in a class at St. Mary School in Stayton.
Erik Silbernagel enjoys access to on-line learning on a Chromebook in a class at St. Mary School in Stayton.
STAYTON — this fall, St. Mary School announced the receipt of $65,000 in technology grants that this school year will provide students with new opportunities for learning in addition to new materials in the school’s library.

A K-8 school with 220 students, St. Mary is using the grant to reach a 1:1 ratio of students to laptops, which have increased student engagement and efficiency while providing immediate access to the internet and other digital tools.

The grant is from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and provides the school with an array of new technology, including Google Chromebooks that come with charging carts and classroom projectors. Tablets for the teachers and new printers are also being purchased with the funds, as well as an increase in wireless access points around the facility.

“With the new equipment, students receive a more comprehensive and differentiated learning experience,” says Rick Schindler, principal. “With expanded access to educational resources, we are able to develop fluency in current and emerging technologies, which will prepare students for life and work beyond school. It will allow them to exchange ideas and opinion, create and innovate, solve problems and express themselves through the skillful use of a variety of technologies.”

In addition, St. Mary received a $2,000 grant from The Autzen Foundation to increase its selection of standards-aligned library books and a $750 grant from the George and Laura Kreitzburg Memorial Fund of the Salem Foundation for nonfiction texts. The upgrades in the library have allowed students to reach the new Common Core State Standards mandated by the Archdiocese of Portland and the Oregon Department of Education.

“The goal of the transition to the Common Core is to prepare tomorrow’s college and career-ready learners,” says Schindler. “The recent technology and library updates have given St. Mary students access to web-based research and learning, as well as non-fiction texts, including historical and informational titles, which will help them accomplish the new standards.”

Additionally, the Doris J. Wipper Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation awarded St. Mary a $25,300 grant, which is going towards technology training and professional instruction. Teachers will attend Google Apps for Education Summits where they will learn to integrate and use Google in education.

“We are exceptionally grateful. Our faculty is eager to utilize the new library resources as well as further their education in delivering the latest and best technology for the classroom,” Schindler