This fall, all five schools in the Mineola Union Free School District received official notification of earning designation as an Apple Distinguished School for 2017-18. With this, Mineola becomes the first complete school district in all of New York State to have all of its schools earn the title. They are also the only five Apple Distinguished Schools on Long Island, five of only eight in New York and five of 400 across 29 countries worldwide who compete for this designation.
Apple Distinguished Schools are centers of leadership and educational excellence that demonstrate Apple’s vision for learning with technology and are some of the most innovative schools in the world. To qualify, the schools had to go through a rigorous application process to prove that they meet Apple’s vision of success. This vision includes providing visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional development, flexible learning environments and compelling evidence of success.
Mineola’s 1:1 iPad initiative began at Jackson Avenue School as a pilot program for fifth graders in the spring of 2010. It now encompasses all students, K-12 and has grown into an award-winning program for each of the Mineola schools. Mineola Middle School was the first to earn the designation as an Apple Distinguished School for the 2013-14 school year—it has to requalify for the designation each year.
Two representatives from Apple attended the district’s Dec. 14 board of education meeting and presented each of the schools with their plaques and banners. The representatives noted Mineola’s “relentless pursuit of innovation with a student-centered approach.”
“It’s easy to have an idea; it’s not as easy to make it happen. I have to thank my principals for making this a reality,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael P. Nagler, said that evening. “It’s not just about using a device here; it’s about how we use it to change teaching. It’s about students showing me what they know and how they know it. It’s exciting and really infectious.”