Ozone Park Catholic Academy finds unique ways to raise funds for school technology

Photo: Facebook/Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, Ozone Park

Divine Mercy Catholic Academy in Ozone Park is trying to raise funds to get iPads in its classrooms, according to the school’s fundraising coordinator Michelle Bernabo.

The Catholic school is located at 101-60 92nd St. and is trying to raise funds for 191 iPads for Kindergarten to grade eight students, according to Bernabo.

“They eventually want them all to have them,” said Bernabo about the New York State Education Department, which implemented a policy in 2016 to transition to computer-based testing for grades three to eight students taking English Language Arts and math state exams.

Eventually, the current 17 nursery to Pre-K for All students and future incoming pupils will have to utilize the iPads too once they are old enough to take state exams, according to Bernabo.

The computer-based testing is to get 21st-century learners an improved test-taking experience, according to the state’s Education Department. The purpose is to have enhanced test delivery and integrity, better scoring validity, and a faster turn-around time on testing results.

“The older kids will also being doing science [exams] on them as well,” said Bernabo.

The school intends on finding ways to utilize the iPads in classrooms for curriculum at Divine Mercy as well, said Bernabo.

“We already have smart boards and I think [the iPads] could be [connected] to the smart boards too,” said the fundraising coordinator of 20 years.

Bernabo believes that the iPads could be utilized for social studies, science, and math notes through the smart boards in the school’s classrooms.

“A lot of the children are not good about taking notes,” said Bernabo. “This puts more information at their fingertips.”

Apple iPads could range from $329 for the 7.9-inch screens to $999 for the brand new 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices, according to www.apple.com. These prices don’t include the insurance or the accessories the school might have to consider to get for each unit.

The Catholic Academy has come up with many creative ways of raising funds.

“We sell Christmas wreaths, we did a lunch with Santa, I did a brochure, we did a candy drive, bake sales, a talent show, and we are going to do a fashion show,” said the fundraiser.

On March 28, 2019, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the school will do a fashion show to further help raise funds.

“The children will model everyday wear, formal wear and sportswear in a makeshift runway,” according to Bernabo. “There’s always a variety.”

Divine Mercy Catholic Academy hopes to raise enough funds by September 2019.