SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – Recently the St. Maarten Seventh-day Adventist School became the proud recipients of 50 brand new IPads to support the students and staff with online and blended learning.
In 2015, as a result of the initiative of the Foresee Foundation who developed a comprehensive Educational Technology Project through funding from Windsong International Foundation, the St Maarten Seventh-day Adventist School, along with other schools across the island, became a DigiKidz school. To further enhance the initiative, a cabled network infrastructure including server, digital boards and children’s laptops were purchased for each classroom, and a Digi-Tech Team was formed among staff who spearheaded training and staff development programmes to ensure the competence of staff in effectively utilizing hardware and software for teaching/learning.
As the use of technology in the classrooms increased throughout the years and teachers got introduced with more educational apps, school manager Clara George, expressed her wish to add iPads to the current IT system. This would allow teachers and children to also use the newest apps available.
Ms. George’s desire led to the second phase of the initiative which commenced in 2019. This, of course, was outside of a knowledge/view that a pandemic (COVID-19) would force schools globally to switch to online and blended learning. For the SDA School, the availability of the iPads ensures that 50 students will benefit from this DigiKidz project as these devices will be used for virtual classes. Ms. George expressed that she is certain the iPads could not have arrived at a better time. “We are in a critical season when these devices are a must for successful virtual learning and our omniscient God, foreseeing the circumstances, worked through these generous foundations to meet the needs of our boys and girls.”
This generous donation will help to improve the educational lives of the parents, teachers and students in a significant way as the number of students without devices has also been considerably reduced. The school expressed that since the switch to online classes, several parents have had to make “digital sacrifice” by not taking their phones to work, just to ensure that their child/ren were able to connect to their virtual classes. Some students have had to await their parents return from work in order to complete assignments, and as a consequence, teachers have had to extend themselves for hours far beyond formal school hours to ensure students are gaining academically as due to family dynamics and a lack of devices, students were unable to attend classes during scheduled sessions.
On Monday, August 24, 2020 parents and students visited the school with happy faces where they were greeted by a team of educators who assisted them with the handing over process that included the signing of a contract agreement concerning the care and use of the IPads. Each device came with a screen protector and a strong child-friendly protective case to help protect against minor incidents.
Foresee Foundation is proud that these tech investments made in the previous years are helping the five primary and secondary schools (Hillside schools, Seventh-day Adventist School, Milton Peters College and St. Maarten Academy) to successfully continue the use of technology in their teaching practice, and wishes all students and staff much success for the new academic year.
The SDA principal, Ms. Clara George, on behalf of the Management, Staff, Parents and Students of the St. Maarten Seventh-day Adventist School, extends profound gratitude to the Foresee Foudation and by extension the Windsong International Foundation. To them she expresses, “Thank you, Dank U, Gracias and May God bless you for assisting us as we continue to aim to provide the best possible online education under the current circumstances. We feel tremendously blessed by your act of kindness.”
The management team of the St. Maarten Seventh-day Adventist School encourages other foundations, organizations and individuals to do their best in contributing to our children’s successes. We may never really realize the full impact of such a donation in our world of education. When one child succeeds, the whole society wins.