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Into the future: Technology the highlight of new school year at Marquette

posted Aug 22 2016 9:49 AM
by Cory Davenport, Staff Writer at the Riverbender.com
updated August 22 2016 9:24 AM

ALTON-Marquette Catholic High School now has a 1:1 technology ratio for their students, a feat for which many modern classrooms strive. 

On the second day of school, Marquette Principal Mike Slaughter said all the bugs were getting fixed in the new system, which grants each student their own personal iPad for classwork. Slaughter said the new implementation is being used in conjunction with the classic and "beloved" textbooks for a complete learning experience Slaughter calls "blended curriculum." 

"Right now, we're in the learning process," Slaughter said Friday just before dismissal. "It will provide teachers and students with a communication system." 

Those iPads will be used in tandem with a system called "Moodle," which will allow teachers to give assignments, as well as tests and quizzes, via each student's iPad and then proceed to grade them instantaneously. In the future (maybe even as soon as next school year) Slaughter hopes the system will get rid of the pesky snow days, which haunt winter months. 

"We're not there yet," he said. "But, in the future, students and teachers could use this program to continue lesson plans, even in a snowstorm." 

To ensure students are using their iPads appropriately, Slaughter said teachers have the Apple Classroom System. That system allows teachers to monitor their students' usage of their iPads. If they are operating an application, which is either not appropriate or not part of the curriculum, a teacher may block that student from using such an application. 

While many textbooks have been downloaded into the students' iPads, some classes are still pen-and-paper and textbook-oriented at this time. 

Enrollment at Marquette is holding steady this year, after eight consecutive years of growth. Slaughter said the official numbers were not currently calculated, due to the unsteady nature following the first week of school, but enrollment may have fallen by as little as five or six students, which is expected, Slaughter said. 

During an all-school mass held on the first day of classes, Slaughter said students were able to fill each pew, when formerly the school may have only been able to fill a half or two-thirds of those seats. 

Three new teachers have also joined the Marquette family this year. Slaughter said each comes with experience in teaching. Nick Cohan now teaches algebra II and Michelle McIlvoy and Ellen Hutchens now teach English. 

"We have teachers here from 43 years to a day and a half," Slaughter said. 

The teacher of 43 years, Carmen Serio has been a part of the Marquette family long enough to have taught Slaughter himself. 


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