Monday, November 5, 2012


In this posting, we try to explain some of the motivation behind our actions and our goal to help our teachers, their helpers and, ultimately, the student.

In every school, including St. Philip, there is a certain percentage of students that either excel (above the norm) in the classrooms or are challenged and require additional time/teacher.  It could be one subject, or just a different learning technique/style associated with the student.  This group of students sometimes equates to 10% of the total school population that needs additional services, whether it be enrichment or supportive services.

Traditionally, every teacher (and their helpers) in every classroom has to accommodate all students and keep all them learning at the same rate.  It is a very challenging position to be in with all of the items/lessons that need to be taught in a year.  Teachers have one of the most stressful jobs in the world, especially now with the frantic drive to reform education.

Schools cannot handle all of the students needs all the time, even with excellent programs like STEP.  Teachers are striving to meet the needs of all of the students and technology is one more way to help them to achieve their goal.

Our committee wants to help teachers to reach this goal.

We are committed to providing our teachers and students new tools to better the education process.  One aspect of the reform in education today promotes the personalization of education.  With these tools, the teacher now has the amazing ability to reach every child at where they are at developmentally.  But, it is a new world and our committee is committed to ensuring that this amazing palette of tools is available for use, responsibly, by our teachers and students.

We want the 10% to be 0% with EVERY student excelling....this is our dream for our children.

Monday, October 8, 2012


In the second blog posting, I wanted to discuss what is going on in the classroom, in terms of updating the tools in them.

Almost all the St. Philip classrooms haven't had their technology tools updated since the new school building was built.  We are overdue in assessing what needs updating!

Here are some items that we have identified...

  • The teacher's computers are failing and are outdated.  Most of these computers are over five years old and their components are starting to fail
  • EVERY teacher uses their computer in different capacities...some push their computers to their maximum potential but are limited with the older technology
  • The operating system in use on the majority of computers at the school, Windows XP, will no longer be supported starting in April, 2014
  • The classrooms need a collaboration system that can allow classes to engage with other classes/teachers around the world.  In addition, it is very difficult for students to share their electronic creations/portfolio in the classrooms today.  This involves reviewing all audio/video requirements for the classroom, including interactive tools like smartboards/iPads/AppleTVs
  • No full time computer staff member that can sustain all of the above.  This all done with some of the staff at the school but mostly handled by volunteers
Given these items, we are exploring newer tools/methodologies that support our vision of mobility and access anywhere...
  • The transition of most IT services to the "cloud"...this provides St. Philip great opportunities in terms of flexibility, backup and cost savings.  We are currently transitioning the majority of school staff and upper grade students over to Google Apps.  We have already successfully moved Destiny's Quest to the cloud!  And, from an IT perspective, we don't have to worry about support and backing up data, which require a fair amount of resources that the school currently doesn't have much of
  • Allow the applications that are in use by the school to be available, securely, on any desktop (not just Windows)
  • The exploration of DaaS (or Desktop as a Service) - Computer desktops in the "cloud"...teachers and staff may gain access to their computer "desktop," securely, from any device or "zero client," not just from their computer
  • Update the computers in use by teachers.  Computers are needed more than ever, but we will assess the needs of each teachers and design an appropriately solution per teacher
  • Audio/Video/Conference integrated systems
  • Provide training for staff on utilize modern tools
  • Explore staff/consulting services for supporting the school's IT needs
  • The updating of the computer and Accelerated Learning labs
  • Reduced power consumption - to keep inline with the green initiatives of the school
Exciting times are ahead for the school!! Stay tuned!

As always, if you have any questions, please send them to


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Techno happenings at St. Philip the Apostle school!

Hi folks!!

My name is Armando Perez and I'm the chair of the technology subcommittee at St. Philip the Apostle school.

This is my first blog posting on what we are doing on the subcommittee.  We have had a significant amount of progress since the school board formed this subcommittee a couple of years ago.  Just for clarification, the technology subcommittee directly reports to the Policy and Planning committee of the school board.

Now...with the formalities out of the way, let's get started!

Our subcommittee was assigned a strategic goal that was developed with the help of the school board and parents...

"To become one of the top Catholic schools nationwide in the use of technology to better the educational experience of all stakeholders"

Wow...that's a pretty ambitious goal!!  But, it is a challenge that our team wholeheartedly accepted knowing that we would have the potential to provide solutions for supporting the way the teachers want to teach and, as an end result, alter the way our children learn.

Our team hit the floor running.  Over the course of a year, we have accomplished quite a bit.  Below are our current, significant projects and their status...

  • Wireless network system.  Over the hot summer season, while all of you were in the nice cool pools and beaches, we worked extra hard to install a wireless network for the school and Holy Angel hall.  What does this provide?  Teachers will be able to utilize the wireless network for wireless devices (iPads, laptops, etc.) for enhancing the learning experience.  It is also our goal to provide wireless access for the students (and their devices) to allow them to dynamically, and safely, research any subject and allow newer methods of collaboration with other students, teachers and classes, either locally or around the world.  After an exhaustive bidding process with multiple wireless vendors, the technology subcommittee worked very closely with our chosen wireless vendor, Aruba Networks, to design and implement a state-of-the-art network that is scalable, secure, robust and covers the entire campus, including the parking lot!  We are rolling out the wireless network in phases with teachers first, then students and, yes...wait for it....guest access for parents.  
  • Internet upgrade.  Even though we have "high speed" Internet access at the school, it is not enough to support all the potential new devices when students start to connect to the wireless network.  We have been working with multiple vendors on figuring out the best solution to our dilemma.  At this point, the team agreed to explore acquiring a brand new fiber optic connection installed at the school that will provide a substantial increase in current Internet speeds and allow for future expandability, if needed.  This new upgrade will raise the monthly Internet costs, IN ADDITION to construction costs to install the new cabling.  Knowing this, in parallel, we also engaged with a consulting firm that helps schools acquire federal and state funding to help offset the installation and MRC (monthly reoccurring costs) associated with Internet and tele-communication services.  When we hear back on how much funding the school will receive, the decision will be made on whether to proceed on the fiber optic upgrade or explore other options.
There are plenty of other projects we're working, including integrating iPads with AppleTVs, VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) and migrating the school to Google Apps.  I'll post the details of these projects in future blog postings.

I should also note that members of the committee also support the school with day-to-day IT issues. We use modern and secure tools to help maintain the school's and parish's technological infrastructure, including monitoring of critical systems and environmental factors (e.g. we get notified if the computer room gets too hot!).  We can help teachers and staff with issues on their computers, remotely, from any location in the world with an Internet connection.  It's actually very cool stuff :)

If you have any questions, please feel free to send them to, or reply to the blog below, and we'll try to answer them.

Thank you for your continued support of St. Philip the Apostle school!

Stay tuned!  :)

PS: Some parents wanted to see the tech subcommittee's video that we prepared for last year's dinner auction.  Here is the link to it...enjoy! ->