Friday, February 5, 2016

Apple Distinguished..Once Again

A recent blog post from Ms. Scheffer and the BHS Help Desk about our most recent designation as an Apple Distinguished School:
The BPS EdTech Team is thrilled to announce that for the third consecutive time, Burlington High School has been named an Apple Distinguished School for 2015 – 2017. We earned this prestigious recognition due to our effective implementation of iPad technology, visionary leadership, innovative teaching and learning, and our commitment to ongoing professional learning. Burlington High School was first recognized as an Apple Distinguished School in 2012. At that time, Dennis Villano, the BPS Director of Technology Integration stated that the iPad was “the best content delivery and best content creation device.” As we enter into year five of our 1:1 iPad program, we continue to believe that the iPad is the best mobile learning device for our students. We are also incredibly proud of the many teachers throughout Burlington High School who use the iPad daily as a tool to engage students and offer them a highly personalized learning experience. We could not have earned this honor without the efforts of the teachers who continuously challenge themselves professionally for the sake of their students.
“It’s About People, Not Programs”
The growth mindset of our faculty; their willingness to experiment and explore with new iOS applications, and their dedication to creating a student-centered classroom environment, deserves to be celebrated and recognized. We appreciate the time and energy our teachers invest into transforming their instructional practices to meet the needs of our students and their efforts to provide students with a 21st century education emphasizing the skills of creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. BHS Italian teacher Ilaria Hoerle stated, “I have really grown as a teacher since iPads were first introduced in our school. In my subject, iPads have been a wonderful tool in all areas (speaking, listening, reading, and writing).” Mrs. Hoerle’s statement underscores the power of the iPad in a 1:1 classroom and the impact it has had on our teachers and their professional learning.
When asked how the iPad has impacted the way they teach, here’s what a few BHS teachers had to say:
The iPad has impacted the way that I teach in a positive manner…the iPad and its resources have enhanced my teaching by improving the manner in which I present information in a more interactive learning approach on a daily basis.
-Renee Dacey, World Language Department Chair
It has been instrumental in broadening both the ways in which I organize my materials for myself and my students and they ways that my students can articulate their understanding of the material. I am no longer dependent upon a textbook for anything. I no longer spend uncounted moments at a photocopier. I can bring all manner of media into my classroom to support my teaching. I have been able to create my own book to support the elective I created last year.
-Todd Whitten, Social Studies Department Chair
The iPad is an intriguing tool for the classroom. Having mobile technology allows another way for students to engage in the material. The iPad allows students to create and present in new and interesting ways.
-Mike Milton, Social Studies Teacher
It has fostered hands-on learning, student-centric lessons, lots of interactivity, lots of Apps in the various disciplines, etc.
-Susan Price, Foreign Language Teacher
When asked how the iPad allows teachers to create a personalized learning experience for their students, Mr. Whitten stated, “I am able to present my students with options for assessments, and they are then able to choose the option that they feel best allows them to demonstrate their understanding of the material. I am also able to direct my students to a variety of resources to support their understanding of the material and am no longer trapped into only sharing what I have been able to photocopy. I can direct them to images, text, video, sounds, all in an effort to help deepen their understanding of the material.”
Mrs. Dacey added, “I am able to present a project’s instructions and ask my students to complete a finished product using an application of their choice. Because of the various iPad applications, students are able to decide which app is best for them when creating oral and/or visual presentations. In addition, I share presentations with students, which include grammar overviews. Students open the presentations on Notability and are recommended to fill in the missing grammar information while I am presenting it during class – which encourages them to become engaged in the learning process by writing out the information on their Notability document.”
Connect. Create. Collaborate.
Many Burlington High School teachers successfully leverage the iPad daily to connect and communicate with their students. Our teachers understand that the iPad allows students to demonstrate their learning in a wide variety of ways, whether it be through a narrated slide show, an audio recording, a drawing, or a movie. Teachers also feel confident that students can use their iPad to work either independently or as a member of collaborative team. In other words, students in our 1:1 environment are given choice and voice in their learning. As a result, Burlington students are well prepared to compete in the 21st century job market.
We would like to sincerely thank all of our faculty who put our students’ needs first and congratulate you for being a part of an Apple Distinguished learning community. The success of our program continues to be a source of inspiration for many other school districts across the country, and while we are proud to serve as a leader among 1:1 programs, we are most proud of the teachers and students who have embraced our iPad initiative and make BHS an amaze place to teach and learn.
The Foundation for Our Success
Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 2.36.46 PM.pngIn addition to our outstanding faculty, our IT Department; Director of Technology Bob Cuhna, Systems Administrator John Allegretto, Network Administrator Jose DeSousa, and Network Technician Eric Calandriello, all deserve recognition for their unyielding commitment to ensuring the network and infrastructure is fast and reliable for our students and teachers. No matter where you are in the building, you can count on a strong network connection. This is a huge part of our success as a 1:1 school. However, our IT Department is not just dedicated to sustaining a robust network, they also understand the needs of teachers and students in terms of curriculum and assessment. Rather than block and ban access to modern technology tools, including social media, they provide access to the digital tools and resources our teachers and students need, while always maintaining the safety and privacy of our students.
Finally, we’d like to recognize the BHS administration and specifically our building principal, Mark Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan models the use of technology through his blog and his support of our 1:1 technology initiatives. He encourages faculty to leverage iPad technologies to create a digital workflow and to communicate with students and parents. He allows faculty to choose the technology tools that will best meet their needs and he is proud to lead a school dedicated to achieving excellence in education. When asked about earning the Apple Distinguished award for the third time Mr. Sullivan stated:
It is always an honor to join a small group of schools nationwide that Apple recognizes as exemplary learning environments. Being an Apple Distinguished School is an impressive distinction for Burlington High School. It a piece of evidence that highlights our successes as an innovative school that produces an engaging, personalized, and 21st century learning environment.
The Apple Distinguished School designation also signifies that the administration, staff, and students of Burlington High School can demonstrate that they have shown competency in the best teaching practices of a Distinguished School – Visionary leadership, Innovative learning and teaching, Ongoing professional development, Compelling evidence of success, and flexible learning environments.
Of course none of this could be accomplished without our excellent teaching staff, the quality and character of our students, and the commitment that the Town of Burlington has to its young people.

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