According to an article in the Seattle Times, St. Therese Catholic School in the Madrona neighborhood has made great changes to their program. Up until two years ago, St. Therese found the number of students dwindling. Enrollment was down to about 90 students, just about 10 in each class. As expenses continued to grow, closure seemed to be the only option. Leaders of the school wasted no time and begun to make changes in order to draw more attendance. They worked very hard making numerous phone calls, hanging up fliers, and adding a Pre-Kindergarten class to the school. Most importantly St.Therese is attracting family with their emphasis on computer instruction. Students are spending 30%-50% of the day on laptops, where their progress can be tracked. Because of the many changes they made, their attendance has nearly doubled to 173 students.
With $433,000 in grants to date, $300,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, St. Therese is the second Catholic school in the nation that practices a blended-learning model, computer-based learned as well as traditional classroom style learning. Similar efforts are being put underway at Holy Rosary in Tacoma, where they are also hoping to adopt a Spanish-speaking program to attract more Catholic Latino families.
With the help the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, St. Therese has 190 laptops which is enough for each student in grades 4-8, and one for every 2 students in K-3. These laptops replaced 25 computers that were outdated, now students can feel proud of what they are using and accomplishing.