South Ozone Park – Students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy are getting some much-needed help in their school work, thanks to DeSales Media Group, which donated 145 iPads to the school to make it easier for children to fully participate in remote learning from home.
“I was really quite happy,” Principal Frances DeLuca told Currents News after the iPads were delivered to the school.
After the delivery, the devices were distributed from the auditorium of the school at 111-10 115th St. in South Ozone Park on May 1. School officials took special precautions to make sure that social distancing requirements were met when parents came into the building to pick up the iPads for their children. The iPads were handed out at 15-minite intervals at several stations in the auditorium, school officials said.
The iPads are equipped with a cellular connection to the Internet that will enable children to take part in remote learning from home.
The iPads will help Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy ensure educational equity, according to Gina Krainchich, director of Educational Media Services for The Catholic Telemedia Network, a service of DeSales Media, Inc,
DeSales Media is the parent company of The Tablet.
Children who do not have iPads or access to the Internet are left at a severe disadvantage during the COVID-19 pandemic when the Diocese of Brooklyn closed its schools and instituted remote learning, said Krainchich, who helped arrange for the donation of the iPads.
“We believe it’s important that all children be given the same educational opportunities,” Krainchich told The Tablet.
MaryAnn Smolenski, a fifth grader teacher at the school, called the donation of the iPads, “a lifesaver.”
Smolenski, who also teaches science and social studies, told Currents News that the iPads are useful to educators as well as students. “It’s kind of an important tool,” she said.
Bernadette Keaney, a parent of a child at OLPH, said she was grateful and excited to learn of the iPad donation. Keaney, who is also a teacher, said she can see “from both sides” how the devices can improve remote learning. “Each student can learn at their level,” she told Currents News.
The iPad donation came on the same day Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn, announced that all elementary Catholic academies and schools in Brooklyn and Queens, will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
Chadzutko’s announcement followed a decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to keep the state’s public schools shut for the remainder of the term to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
“As such, the Catholic academies and parish schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens, will remain closed through the end of June. The distance and digital learning platforms in place will serve as the instructional program for our schools for the remainder of this academic year. I am very proud of our schools and academies, who were successfully able to transition to a distance and digital learning platform almost immediately upon our school buildings being shut down,” Chadzutko said in a statement.
“We will be working with our principals and teachers to ensure that our milestone celebrations (graduations, step-up ceremonies, and other achievements) will be honored and recognized. As we have done so far during this pandemic, we will continue to assemble and share resources for our families as we confront this challenging end to the school year,” the superintendent stated.
To read the latest updates regarding coronavirus concerns in the Brooklyn Diocese, go to https://thetablet.org/coronavirus.