By Magda Dakin
“We had no idea how timely and necessary the gift we received from the KOC would be,” said school principal Ed Reynolds, at a recent Saturday morning presentation and school tour.
Earlier this year the Our Lady of the Valley Regional School received a $20,000 gift from the Northbridge Knights of Columbus Mumford Council #365, to be used to upgrade the school’s media electronics equipment.
“With the advent of COVID-19 the gift has enabled us to create a leading-edge program to connect our home-schooling students with those in the physical classroom. Teachers and students participate in a live communication system where the student studying at home can be an actual part of the classroom experience,” continued the newly appointed school principal Mr. Reynolds.
Our Lady of the Valley School in Uxbridge is a regional faith-based school, drawing students from five surrounding dioceses. Of the 180 students currently enrolled at the school, 20 of them participate virtually, from their home.
The gift has enabled the purchase and integration of student Chromebooks, iPads on tripods and individual smart TV screens for the classrooms. Teachers can communicate directly with the remote learning student, sharing work on the board, listening to the lessons and even pairing with another student for class projects.
“It’s been a challenge to create a safe learning space for our students and the new equipment has made all the difference,” echoed the teachers attending the formal presentation.
A tour of the school with more than a dozen KOC members reflected the changes that were made in order to comply with the guidelines for opening the school during a pandemic. From the hand sanitizing stations at every corner, arrows on the floor and the plastic dividers on the tables, school looks a little different than it used to. Each classroom now sports a large screen TV to display the remote learning students on the screen and an iPad mounted on a tripod so the student can see the classroom activity.
The school will also have another upgrade soon, a new gymnasium and recreation center. Hoping to begin building in the spring of 2021, Our Lady of the Valley will be expanding to include the new Grace Rett Athletic Complex and Education, G.R.A.C.E. Center for short. It will be dedicated in memory of former student Grace Rett, the Holy Cross rowing team member killed in an accident on January 15. Additional fund raising is currently underway.
Principal Reynolds was proud to say that other schools have been asking advice on how best to facilitate their own remote learning plans and expressed a grateful thanks to the Mumford Council of Knights of Columbus for their help.
Our Lady of the Valley Regional School is located at 75 Mendon St, Uxbridge, behind St. Mary’s Church.