Fontbonne Hall Academy lets students lead the way with Google

It’s like night and day. It used to be a teacher talking, calling on one kid, then another kid. Now when you look in a classroom, you see students with their Chromebooks open and working in groups.

Mark Surdyka, Director of Technology, Fontbonne Hall Academy


When Mary Ann Spicijaric, Fontbonne Hall Academy’s principal, and Mark Surdyka, the school’s director of technology, arrived at Fontbonne, “it was a school that looked like it was 1993, not 2013,” says Surdyka. PCs were out of date, and the lack of wifi coverage meant students couldn’t use their own devices. Spicijaric and Surdyka wanted to bring collaborative and empowering tools to classrooms to help students take charge of their own learning.


The school signed up faculty, staff, and students to Google Apps for Education, and also began using Classroom to organize lessons. Incoming freshman now receive their own Chromebooks. Today, students and teachers are inspired to create new ways to present lessons and projects, and shy students are encouraged to participate in classwork.