Mrs. Knezo began teaching at CACES/PJP II for the 1995-96 school year. This school year, 2020-21, marks her 26th year in Catholic Education.
How did you come to teach at CACES?
My path to becoming an educator in the Catholic school system was by chance.
Sr. Leo Mary, I.H.M. recognized my background from the yearly parental survey. I
had just chosen to leave the full-time workforce after the birth of my daughter. At that time,
I was a 20 year employee of Unisys working as a software systems analyst.
My sons were in CACES as 2nd and 4th graders. I additionally was active in the H&S association as a board member. All the pieces fit! I began building the technology program from a few 286 processor PC’s located in the Junior High Nurse’s office to what we experience today.
Why have you chosen to teach in a Catholic School?
I found that teaching in Catholic School was so rewarding in that my work directly affected the life of an individual. I love the sense of community. I pride myself on being able to interact with so many students, helping them grow to become life-long learners. Teaching in a Catholic School also allows you to be an example to others, to instill a love of Christ, and to be a steward to your faith.
What is one of your fondest memories?
I would have to say one of the fondest memories I treasure would be the ground breaking ceremony at PJP II in 2005. There were many years of struggle and uncertainty, not knowing if a new school would ever come to fruition. The school community banded together as ONE and many fundraising efforts later, we were granted the permission to build. Sr. Helen Loretta along with all the parish priests donned hard hats while Cardinal Justin Rigali blessed the ground. It was a day full of pomp and circumstance along with the bright June sunshine!
What is the biggest change you have seen during your teaching career?
One of the biggest changes I have seen in 26 years teaching technology would have to be in the methods used for the delivery of instruction and the increasing amounts of individual screen time. When I started teaching I would hear that keyboarding was taking away from handwriting.
Well fast forward a few years and touch sensitive screens hit the market. Keyboarding is out, tap and swipe is in. The point is that INNOVATION is the catalyst for change.
Is virtual schooling going as you envisioned?
At PJP II, we easily made the pivot to virtual learning last spring and continue to offer a virtual option for families with unique needs during the Pandemic. I think that process was made easier by our previous faculty and student training. We all focused on our abilities and the willingness to embrace innovation. We learned from one another. Our professional development for years has stressed technology integration. PJP II stepped up, we all have become believers in what can be accomplished by using a single Internet connection!
What continuing education practices do you personally follow?
Professionally, I utilize the wealth of information that the AoP technical coaches provide as well as the monthly IHM Education Newsletter. Before Covid-19, I would participate in the Connelly Foundations Summer Tech camps to learn all the best practices the diocese offers.
How do you keep your students motivated and engaged?
I attempt to keep my students motivated and engaged by first listening to them. I like to build on what they already know. I often intertwine my lessons with business applications and use real life data. All the classes at PJP II discuss what constitutes good digital citizenship. We strive to
better ourselves with knowledge.