School gets funds
for new computer lab
La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls, which integrates technology throughout its curriculum, has raised $100,000 for an advanced computer laboratory that can handle graphic design, sound and animation.
"One of the fields where women still lag behind men and don't have a real foothold is in technology, and we're helping to correct that situation," said Nancy White, head of school.
The school announced a $50,000 grant yesterday from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, which was matched by an anonymous donor.
The laboratory, featuring high-end Macintosh computers, is expected to open this fall.
This month, two La Pietra seniors, Claire Hiranda and Jesse Wood, will receive the school's first "Diplomas with an Emphasis on Technology." The diploma encourages students to pursue careers in the field.
The school, with 250 students on its Diamond Head campus, already has a 1-to-1 ratio of students to computers. Sixth-graders each have their own laptop, and there are computers in the classrooms and a laboratory. But demand still exceeds supply.
"We have all these high-end courses for our upper-school students, and they need higher-end equipment and software," White said yesterday.
"There's such demand on our one lab because so many teachers have integrated technology in all disciplines. The new lab will relieve that."
Students at La Pietra use technology to do everything from composing music to manipulating probes in science labs. Required courses in sixth through eighth grade introduce students to computers, multimedia and Web design. Upper-class courses cover networking, animation and desktop publishing.
The school also plans to use the Ford Foundation grant to resume summer courses for girls on Oahu who want to enrich their technology skills.