Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
Mineola Middle School has been named an Apple Distinguished School for the 2013-14 school year. Only 87 schools in the nation have been selected for the award, which is reserved for those that have demonstrated Apple’s vision of a successful 21st-century learning environment.
In order to qualify for the award, schools had to be nominated by Apple and then demonstrate, through an application process, that they meet Apple’s requirements. Apple previously awarded the entire district with a Distinguished Program of the Year Award last April. The technology giant recognized 103 programs nationwide. At the Mineola program’s inception, iPads were available to each Jackson Avenue School student to use at home as a learning tool and to aid them in the transition of the ever-growing area of technology.
Current middle school Principal Matthew Gaven (who served as Jackson Avenue School principal when the program launched) was tasked with helping teachers institute the program. He broke the plan down into three phases.
Phase one saw teachers come back and essentially revamp the fifth grade, working in two teams with partners. One class period was called called the iPad exploration period, allowing teachers to implement new ways of integrating the device into the curriculum.
Phase two saw the implementation of short research projects using Safari, Pages and Keynote, the Apple versions of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word. Meanwhile, the district began exploring different applications. The third phase was to enable file sharing and communication using in-district email for each student, who can only receive emails from other Mineola school addresses.