Catholic Division receives donation of 15 Chromebooks from Autism Speaks

Herald file photo.

Students with intensive needs in the Prince Albert Catholic School Division will be benefiting from a donation of 15 Chromebook laptop computers from the organization Autism Speaks Canada.

Superintendent Charity Dmytruk updated trustees on this development during the board’s regular meeting on Oct. 12.

Education director Lorel Trumier said they heard about the offer after being contacted by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA).

“Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to do that and have those Chromebooks delivered,” Trumier said. “What we will try to do is match the (student) need with the Chromebooks.

“There is more emphasis on perhaps the older ones right at this time because we know that there is more independence with Chromebook,” she added.

Trumier said the new devices will supplement technology already used by younger students, who find touch technology to be a better fit.

“We are going to certainly make sure that they put them to good use, or use them in the classrooms,” she explained. “That was another area where we could use them, so it’s a part of a student’s program to build technological skills. We may use it and let them take it home and also use it in the classroom for instructional purposes. We are just in the process of working through all of that.”

During the Oct. 12 meeting, Trumier also updated the board on a School Community Councils (SCCs) survey. The SCC was looking for feedback on professional development opportunities for the school year.

“We have had some really good response from our SCCs regarding their opportunity to network or have a form of professional development,” she told trustees.

Parents appreciated the presentation by trauma and threat assessment expert Kevin Cameron last year in the survey and the division will set up another one. Other opportunities selected by SCCs included Online Safety by the Prince Albert Police Service and the basics of the Edsby program by a school division consultant. These were among six options presented to SCCs.

The division has also received Child Nutrition and Development Program funding from the Ministry of Education that supports nutrition programs that run in all seven schools in the division.

For this school year, the Catholic Division will be receiving $84,265, which is an increase of $1,308 over the 2020-2021 school year.

Trumier added that opportunities for items such as the Nutrition Grant and the Autism Speaks donation go a long way to help the division do what it can for their students.

“And having our opportunities like Nutrition Grants or the Feeding our Future program to help us with that and Autism Speaks certainly goes a long way in making sure that we can do what we need to do for our students,” she said.