It’s an exciting time for the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools community as schools are rolling out devices to students. For the 52 Cohort 6 schools that are just beginning their VILS journey, rollout is the beginning of new learning opportunities that are not possible without technology. The event marks a major milestone and is the culmination of months of hard work that began in the spring when teachers received their devices and began planning.
Students at Sayler Park School and Roberts Paideia Academy in Cincinnati were the first in C6 to receive their devices in mid-August. Since then, “Teachers are really embracing the iPads and have figured out ways to naturally integrate them into their classrooms,” said Annamarie Rinehart, the VILS coach at Sayler Park.
Watch FOX19’s coverage of the Cincinnati rollout event:
Jewel, a student at Sayler Park, served as a new correspondent for Verizon Innovative Learning in this video:
Both schools in Glendale Elementary School District in Phoenix, Arizona, rolled out earlier this month. After helping at Challenger Middle School’s event on Sept. 4, Melvin E. Sine Elementary School held its own celebration a few days later.
“We celebrated like it was a party; we had balloons and streamers everywhere,” said Sine principal DeAnza Baker, who added that after students completed the required iPad setup, they could choose from a number of fun stations, including Spheros, Go Motion, Little Bits, augmented and virtual reality, a green screen, and a photo booth. Students and families could also scan a QR code to share their experiences of the day via Flipgrid, an app commonly used in VILS classrooms.
Baker has been amazed at the level of engagement among her students now that they have technology at their fingertips. “Since deployment day, our students are more engaged in their learning than ever. They are being provided opportunities to show their learning in a variety of ways. Our students are loving their devices and they have such a sense of pride,” she said. “This is just the beginning of our journey; I can’t wait to see where we are and the student learning that is yet to come as our journey continues.”
Sharing scenes from our awesome day in Glendale. Big thank you to Principal @DeAnza3 for a great event. And shoutout to 8th graders Sophia & Aaryiah — the future looks bright! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Np9nX5U9A0
— Andy Choi (@dudeitsandychoi) September 7, 2019
Across town, Madrid Neighborhood School was the first school from Alhambra Elementary School District to roll out devices to students.
“Many of our students don’t have this accessibility at their house, so this is going to provide them a level playing field, and it’s also going to be able to give them the skills that they need,” said principal Stacy O’Rourke.
I love seeing the excitement in their eyes. Dream big, kids! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/wtHfuZLtCP
— Andy Choi (@dudeitsandychoi) September 12, 2019
In Tucson, Arizona, three schools from Tucson Unified School District held their rollout events, and students were thrilled to take home their iPads.
“I think everybody was really proud and excited about getting these (iPads) because you can use it for education, and you also get to take it home,” said Jacob, an eighth grader at Mansfeld Magnet Middle School. “It’s really a privilege.”
“The whole basis for this initiative with Verizon and Digital Promise is to bridge the digital divide,” Mansfeld principal Dr. Seth Aleshire added. “This is about being able to get the absolute best resources in the hands of every single student here at Mansfeld to make sure that we have resources that engage and challenge them, whatever level they’re at.”
Wrapping up an inspiring week in AZ at Mansfield Middle Magnet School in Tucson where 1000+ students are getting their iPads through Verizon Innovative Learning. 8th Grader Jacob Lopez said, “It’s really a privilege.”
The privilege is ours. Go Jacob! pic.twitter.com/c3jZMV4iaK
— Andy Choi (@dudeitsandychoi) September 13, 2019
In Texas, Irving Independent School District became the first district in the country to have every middle school participate in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative, as deZavala Middle School, Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, and Travis Middle School joined the five Irving ISD Cohort 4 schools. All three Cohort 6 schools held a rollout celebration on Sept. 6, with more than 2,000 iPads distributed to students, who also had the opportunity to participate in a number of STEM stations.
Teachers were just as excited as students to roll out the devices. “After our PD in late August, multiple teachers from every C6 school were asking when the iPads would be distributed,” said James Tiggeman, the digital learning coordinator for the district. “Just in the past two weeks [since rollout] I have seen our new teachers embrace using the iPads through a variety of means.”
Watch ICTN’s coverage of deZavala’s rollout:
And finally, a few hours south in Austin, five schools from Austin Independent School District became the first Verizon Innovative Learning Schools to receive LTE-enabled Chromebooks.
“It allows (the students) to get tools that they never had before, have access at their hands to explore for their education,” Christina Almaraz Ortiz, the principal at Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy, told KXAN.
Rollouts will continue through the month of October.
To learn more about Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, visit verizon.digitalpromise.org.