When Mrs. Carol Burlinski was hired as principal at St. Isaac Jogues (SIJ) in Hinsdale four years ago, one of the first school matters she was asked to evaluate involved the status of their technology program.
“What we had was okay,” recalls Burlinski. “But having worked at the high school level, I knew what was going to be expected of our children when they graduated from St. Isaac. I knew we could be doing better.”
At the encouragement of SIJ’s Parent Student Association (PSA), Burlinski provided them with a quote to equip each child in grades 3 through 8 with an iPad.
“It was a big number, a quarter of a million dollars,” says Burlinski. “There is so much more to simply purchasing the devices. We also have to make sure our teachers are properly trained to incorporate this technology into the classroom and have the infrastructure within the school to support it.”
In less than a year, the PSA delivered—raising all the money needed for the one-on-one iPad deployment at SIJ, primarily through its largest annual fundraiser—the auction.
“When people ask me why St. Isaac, there is no question what my answer is—it’s the parents,” Burlinski says. “They truly are willing to make anything possible to support SIJ’s mission for education.”
The technology initiative has enhanced the educational process across many fronts at SIJ, but Burlinski says the biggest change has come in how teachers can differentiate the curriculum in their classrooms.
“When I first began my career in education, we were big on grouping or tracking children by ability,” Burlinski says. “But what happened was that children who perhaps were struggling, never were allowed to hear what a really good answer was to a question because they were in a classroom of their peers. Now, this technology allows is for everyone to get the benefit of direct instruction and the benefit from the richness of the conversation. This is great for student motivation and self-esteem—students don’t know if they’re being re-taught or enriched.”
With the technology program well under way and being rolled out to students as young as preschool, SIJ’s administration and PSA need to shore up the school’s physical structure.
“Our enrollment is healthy and growing,” says Burlinski of the school’s current student body of 499 students. “We have a lovely old building that needs to be maintained and is ready to accommodate the students we have and the ones we hope to have here some day. I never want to turn away any family that wants to be here.”
SIJ’s Auction will be held on Saturday, February 10 at the Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge and is co-chaired by Christine McCarty and Jeannie Stachowiak. The theme is “Unmask the Future.”
“The auction raises a lot of money and the parents are very supportive of what’s happening here,” says Stachowiak.
“And, it’s not just the two of us making this event happen,” adds McCarty. “We have 30 subcommittees working with us behind the scenes to make this an amazing evening for our parents, teachers, and administrators, parishioners, and donors.”
The February 10 evening will feature both silent and live auctions. Guests can manage their silent auction bids from their smart phones, while SIJ dads will lead the live auction. Both the silent and live auctions are primarily funded from local retailers and sources.
“I can’t say enough about the families at SIJ,” says Burlinksi. “They share what I believe and we work together because we just can’t do enough for our children.”
To learn more about St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School, visit sijschool.org.