Pride In Our Past, Faith In Our Future.
Stepinac

news & events

A year after eliminating textbooks: Stepinac VP looks at results

Archbishop Stepinac High School started school last year with a new project: eliminating paper textbooks in favor of an all-online curriculum for its 700 students.

To do that, the district created a 40-volume digital library to mirror its religious and secular offerings. Once the news became public, the school had calls from high schools across the country interested in how the experiment worked.

The school's vice principal, Frank Portanova, has written a paper talking about the school's experiences that recently was published in eSchoolNews.com. Portanova led the school's technology initiative

You can find the article here.

"This transformation has driven efficiencies in our school, created a more personalized learning environment for our students and, most important, positively impacted student outcomes," Portanova wrote. "In just one year of becoming all digital, the Stepinac academic probation rate was cut in half."

Here is a summation of his findings:

Transformation does not happen overnight.

“Creating an all-digital institution simply does not -- and cannot -- happen overnight. In fact, the complete digital transformation here at Stepinac took more than three years from our first test run of digital texts and platforms to the full implementation of the digital library.”

Digital infrastructure must support the transformation.

“A school cannot become all digital without the correct infrastructure and technical support in place. Transitioning from a few computer labs to having 700 students plus administrators online all day requires a major increase in bandwidth, including wireless access points in every classroom and throughout the school.”

Portanova noted that there “are many steps to this process, the most important of which is choosing a trusted education technology provider. Working with Pearson, we first introduced digital texts as an alternative to standard print textbooks. At the same time, we began deploying innovative digital coursework and assessment platforms, such as SuccessNet and MyLabs, creating a hybrid-learning environment for our students.”

Teacher and student training and buy-in is key

“Lastly, to ensure optimal learning outcomes, it’s important that administrators and teachers are all on board for the transformation, and that teachers and students understand how to use the technology.”