Sections    Wednesday December 12th, 2018
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Apple recognizes Flagstaff for its iREAD project

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  • Karin Eberhard/Flagstaff Unified School District

Flagstaff Unified School District is pleased to announce that it has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program for 2013 – 2015 for its iREAD Project. 

The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments. 

“The iRead program and the use of iPad in my classroom have made a tremendous impact on how I approach reading instruction with my students,” said Jodi Carlson, first grade teacher at Puento de Hozho. “The technology is very flexible and there are multiple applications; they have become a staple in reading opportunities, and provide extra practice on the skills I teach.  My students love the iPad and their engagement with the program is incredible. They’re having fun and boosting academic achievement.  The iRead program is a win-win for everyone.”

The selection of FUSD’s iREAD Project as Apple Distinguished Program highlights our success as an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment. 

Flagstaff Unified School District’s iREAD Project was developed in response to overwhelmingly positive results from a dozen pilot projects, including one focused specifically on 1st grade reading intervention, as well as district-wide reading achievement data and the requirements of Arizona’s Move on When Reading statute. 

iREAD addresses identified academic needs by providing shared iPad carts at grades K-3 in every FUSD elementary schools.  By incorporating iPad into FUSD classrooms, students have been empowered to individualize their learning experiences through engagement with literacy skill-building apps and the creation of multimedia products that demonstrate their learning.

“FUSD’s recent recognition as an Apple Distinguished Program award is a true honor,” said Mary K. Walton, FUSD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.  This designation is a representation of dedication, commitment, and exemplary implementation of technology for students.  Due to the leadership of Mary Knight, Technology Director, FUSD has been able to foster a learning environment for children along with providing the staff the professional development needed that will sustain technology innovation.”

“The iREAD Project describes a well thought out and welcomed initiative for FUSD,” said Barbara Hickman, FUSD superintendent. “Through initial involvement, continual inclusion, and feedback loops used by teacher-leaders, the contributions of our own highly skilled and passionate technology department, and the effective use of school based collaborative teams this program has been effectively implemented over a period of three years.”

“I’m most pleased, however, with the curriculum design and instructional practices,” Hickman said. “What resonates for me is that this project is based on curricular goals and needs, not on devices or technology. FUSD identified curricular expectations using Common Core standards and State of Arizona law. Once that was completed, several devices and apps for those devices were piloted.  iPad came out a clear winner based on the evaluation rubrics and recommendations made by staff.”

“This to me illustrated exactly how we need to see and use technology effectively in classrooms,” Hickman said. “Certainly, iPads are engaging and have added student excitement and new interest in some curricular materials, but most importantly, they have helped us meet a need in our instructional practice that improves student learning in FUSD.”