Anyone with a school-aged child knows, that long gone are the days of blackboards and erasers to teach our children. Anyone with a school-aged child also knows, that “technology” changes faster than any of us could ever keep up with.
While volunteering in school last year (2012-2013), Oakdale Elementary School PTO President, Kim Lynch, realized that as much as the students in grades 1-5 enjoyed working on their computers, the PC`s and laptops available to them were plagued with problems. Some would not hold a charge, headphones and mice didn`t work on others, and the software that was programed on them was out of date.
She brought her concerns to Principal Holli Armstrong, and along with the help of teachers Heidi Graceffa and Heather Finnerty, put together a grant proposal to send out to local businesses, asking for their “help.” Mrs. Lynch believed that purchasing IPads (a nice, fast, modern tablet) would be the way to go.
IPads have found their way in to schools across the country, helping students with special needs along with students with advanced academic abilities. The Apple Corp. summed it up perfectly. “With an IPad, your classroom material goes way beyond your classroom.” Just how big is the Universe? How small is an atom? It has been reported that students saw “learning gains” after as little as 20 minutes of study on an IPad. These devices offer over 65,000 apps just for Education alone. “Share interactive books, speeches, virtual tours, and videos.” “IPads can change the way teachers teach.”
In August of 2013, Kim Lynch`s “grant request” had caught the eye of Mr. Jerry Lavoie, trustee for the Dedham Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation. The Dedham Savings Foundation serves the community by providing monetary grants to non-profit organizations. Grants are awarded twice each year, in December and June, and total almost $250,000 given back to help organizations involved in education, health-care, the arts, and services for the disabled.
As the school year began, the two groups met and plans got underway for Dedham Savings to donate a whopping $15,000 to the school! Principal Armstrong and President Kim Lynch were thrilled with the news. With the help of library/media specialist, Meghan Nels, Oakdale Elementary School was able to purchase 30 new Apple IPads, the appropriate software needed and a special IPad rolling cart, allowing the 300 plus students access to the new devices, class by class.
When the IPads arrived this week, Principal Armstrong invited Jerry Lavoie and fellow trustee, Mark Ingalls, to come to the school and share in the announcement at an assembly. As Ms. Armstrong surprised the students, the auditorium erupted in cheers when the crowd was told that they would be able “to advance their learning here at Oakdale.”
Lavoie told the group that it “wasn`t often, that he got to see the results of his banks work first hand.” He was very pleased that Dedham Savings could “help introduce this new technology in to their classrooms.”
As for PTO President Kim Lynch, her countless hours of hard work and dedication had certainly paid off, and the proud smile on her face, as she stood on the stage, made it all worth it.
Story and Photos by: Joe Kilroy