By CASEY CROUCHER
Recorder News Staff
St. Mary's Institute has been awarded a $7,500 Higher Powered Learning Grant from Albany's Roman Catholic Diocese for four interactive digital SMART boards for middle school classrooms.
"We are thrilled to be a repeat recipient of a Higher Powered Learning Grant and can't wait for students to see our chalk-free middle school," SMI principal Giovanni Virgiglio Jr. said.
The project, titled Chalk-Free Middle School, has brought the existing inventory of SMART boards at SMI to 13.
SMI was awarded the grant after an independent panel review team scored each grant application and the institute's application's score was high enough to receive the money.
Funding for the project was also made possible through a matching grant of $10,000 from the Jordan Family Foundation. This additional funding will allow for the purchase of more equipment and ongoing training for teachers.
Last year, SMI was one of the inaugural schools in the Albany Diocese to receive a Higher Powered Learning Grant. This grant transformed a portion of the school's library media center into a SMART Nook, which is a completely interactive wall that responds to touch. A matching grant from the Jordan Family Foundation also provided teachers with professional development sessions designed to increase proficiency when utilizing SMART board resources.
Virgiglio said making the school "chalk-free" will help students prepare for the future.
"In so doing, we afford our students the accessibility and familiarity with tools of the future," he said, "which allow them to develop the skills they will need to tackle the many opportunities and challenges the world has to offer them."
He also said he appreciates the Jordan Family Foundation for "their continued support of [the] students. Such advancements would not be possible without our generous donors and benefactors."