KINGSTON, R.I. – December 24, 2007 – Through the efforts of a University of Rhode Island alumnus, IBM has donated a total of 15 IBM ThinkPad computers to Central Falls High School: a University of Rhode Island Academy. The donation supports the partnership between URI and the Central Falls Schools District.
The computers were distributed to the department chairs. “All departments will have to become more computer literate and proficient in submitting grades online and assisting students with portfolio development, which is necessary under the new Performance Based Graduation Requirements,” said Abu Bakr, executive assistant to the president at URI and director of planning services, who is helping lead the partnership.
“Each department receives a laptop for access to their curriculum and assessments and when we sit down for meetings we have the resources readily available,” said Mario Andrade, principal of Central Falls High School.
Andrade believes such a donation is important because, “It’s a first step. Our main focus is on teaching and learning. It is very beneficial having extra resources and being able to access curriculum and resources at any point. It changes the culture of our school program.”
Having the laptops allows the department chairs to access technology and resources in any setting he added.
The technology donation, worth $24,000, also provides translation software that will help eliminate language barriers among teachers, students and parents.
“We expect future donations will benefit Central Falls teachers, a student academic enhancement center, a family and community engagement center, a proposed computer lab, as well as a media/professional development and training center,” stated Bakr.
Bakr thanked URI alumnus Steve Malkiewicz, director of communications for IBM Technology & Intellectual Property for his help in making the donation possible. “Steve has been a great help and he is very committed to the success of the URI-Central Falls partnership.”
Malkiewicz works for a division of IBM that coordinates activities within universities around the world, from allocating research grants to programs aimed at creating new business and information technology skills.
“The initiative with Central Falls represents a very innovative and forward-looking approach that addresses important educational issues. If it is successful, it’s easy to see it being replicated in other school districts around the country.” said Malkiewicz.
Malkiewicz also discussed that URI and IBM have had some initial discussions on programs involving technology skills on open technology standards, and a program offered by IBM Corporate Affairs called World Community Grid (www.worldcommunitygrid.org). On this site students can donate the idle cycle times from their computers to research endeavors aimed at humanitarian causes.
THIS COLLABORATION COMPUTES: Central Falls High School teachers receive training at the University of Rhode Island on new computers donated by IBM. The donation is part of a collaboration between IBM and Central Falls High School, a URI Academy. From left are: Steve Deleo, English Department chair, M. Jeffry Schanck, Social Studies Department chair, Kerri Withrow-Valentine, Science Department chair and Sue Cranston the coordinator of the Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements.
URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.