Bringing Community of Peace Academy into the 21st Century
“Paper and pencil isn’t their language – we have to meet the students at their level.”
– Tim Schleicher, Database & Technology Department Administrator, Community of Peace Academy
In 1995, an urban, inner-city charter school was created to serve a diverse, at-risk population on the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota. Community of Peace Academy began as a K-5 school but by 2002, the school had added a middle school and high school because parents wanted their children to continue their education at the Academy.
As the school’s population continued to grow, it struggled to equip classrooms with enough technology. Furthermore, the technology that the teachers did have access to was out-of-date.
Providing students with access to technology at school was crucial because not all of the students had reliable access at home.
In 2010, Tim Schleicher, database and technology department administrator, and Technology Director Paul Schettner made the decision that the school had to upgrade its existing technology and work on increasing the amount of computers in each classroom.
Schleicher began the overhaul by upgrading the high school computer lab. He purchased 72 computers from Minnesota Computers for Schools (MCFS) for the computer lab and made the rest available to teachers who wanted computers in their classrooms.
But, he didn’t stop there. Shortly after, Schleicher purchased 87 laptops and three laptop carts – enough computers to provide three classrooms with a laptop for every student.
“Giving students access to technology is crucial because they take on an active role in their education,” said Jim Christiansen, marketing and sales manager, Minnesota Computers for Schools. “Technology use allows students to actively think about information, make decisions and execute skills – helping them to develop confidence and skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.”
Since purchasing computers from MCFS, the student-to-computer ratio has decreased from four students to one computer to less than two students to one computer.
Providing students with access to the computers gives them more time developing their technical skills – using word processing and spreadsheet programs, honing their typing skills and learning how to use the Internet.
“Purchasing computers and laptops from Minnesota Computers for Schools allowed us to scale our technology up really quickly,” said Schleicher. “It would have taken a lot longer to upgrade our technology access if we had purchased new because it’s much more expensive.”