In Dutchess County, collaborative learning and technological improvements in our Catholic schools have fueled the region’s academic successes.
Coinciding with the larger archdiocesan goal of improving schools’ infrastructure, St. Peter’s, Holy Trinity, and St. Denis-St. Columba have made significant investments in their internet capacity this year in order to facilitate technology-based instruction in the classrooms. Students at St. Denis-St. Columba are taking advantage of this technology every day, whether it is using SmartBoards to play “Frictionary” as a way to study for a test on Newton’s Laws of Motions or programs such as blended learning, which are being implemented to provide individual instruction for individual needs.
St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s in Wappingers Falls also incorporated the “Kindergarten Initiative” into their classrooms this year. The Kindergarten Initiative extends the experiential learning that takes place in Pre-K at a more advanced level, allowing Kindergarten students to engage in play-based learning which encourages them to become self-directed, inquisitive learners. This center-based learning model more effectively personalizes the learning process for our young students.
In November, over 80 students from eight different schools competed in the Our Lady of Lourdes Scholastic Olympics. At the end of the competition, students from St. Mary’s in Fishkill took home the first place prize with two other Dutchess schools — St. Martin de Porres and St. Denis-St. Columba — bringing home the second and third place trophies, respectively.
Region-wide, all Dutchess Catholic elementary schools this year participated in the “Little Read” program as part of a larger program sponsored by the Mid-Hudson Library Association. The program brings the Catholic schools of the region together with the local community for a host of events structured around the theme of the selected book. Every school was given books and the chosen theme this year was the timely topic of “immigration.” Students have been working on projects and reports related to the book and the important theme, which they showcased during Catholic Schools Week.