Pawtucket, RI – Saint Raphael Academy was abuzz last week, not just for the excitement of a new school year, but for the new technology that will become part of every student’s daily life during the school day.

All students have received an HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop as part of the Academy’s 1:1 technology initiative. The laptops will allow for more collaborative work in groups, provide teachers with ways to engage students in learning and research, and prepare students for using technology in the classroom and beyond.

The technology improvements are part of the Academy’s long-term strategic plan to enhance technology offerings to ensure all students become 21st century learners. The Academy has spent the last 18 months preparing for the launch of the initiative, and faculty received approximately 100 hours of professional development to incorporate the devices into their curriculum. Over the summer, improvements were made to the Academy’s infrastructure in order to support the nearly 500 laptops that students and teachers will be using daily.

Saint Raphael Academy is the only Catholic high school in the Diocese of Providence that is providing laptops to its students at no additional charge or additional increase in tuition or fees. That decision was very important to the administration.

“We wanted to ensure accessibility for all of our students, and we didn’t want to have a negative impact on our families’ financial ability to pay,” said Dan Richard, principal.

The laptops will be treated as textbooks; they are on loan to each student and returned to the Academy at the end of the academic year.

Students will also have a new student-run technology help desk available to them throughout the school day. More than 20 upper-class students have signed up to staff the peer Tech Center. Organized as an academic course, the Tech Center staff will receive academic credits toward graduation. The group of students pre-tested the laptop program at the end of the previous academic year and received training in problem solving from the Academy’s IT department.

Students will have no worries about losing battery life during the day; charging stations are located in all mathematics, English and Theology classrooms, with additional outlets located in the computer and science labs.