By Mark Ambrogi
Noblesville Schools received a rare honor this month. The district was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program.
“I think we are one of four or five in Indiana to have received that distinction,” said Andrew Swickheimer, director of technology for Noblesville Schools. “I think there are only 300 worldwide to achieve that distinction. So it’s a pretty exciting honor for our school community to be recognized in that way.”
Apple gives the recognition to K-20 (kindergarten through graduate school) educational institutions that demonstrate innovation, leadership and educational excellence.
“Apple has a framework they share with districts which is based on their best practices for implementing technology and learning,” Swickheimer said. “They have five domains, which include visionary leadership, which talks about the leadership you have in place and the fact you have a shared vision.”
Another is innovative learning and teaching, meaning there are master teachers in place, and your curriculum is designed to leverage the youth and technology, Swickheimer said.
“Then Apple has ongoing professional learning, which means your faculty is trying to improve, reflect and experiment and share with each other,” Swickheimer said. “Then they look for compelling evidence of success. Do you collect data and analyze and share progress to measure the impact that technology is having in your classroom?”
The final and best practice is a flexible learning environment.
“They publish those best practices, and Apple has different reps throughout the country that know what is going on with schools that have implemented Apple technology, and people that they see as exemplars they (are) invited to apply for the Distinguished Program and they invited us,” Swickheimer said.
So he and Noblesville Schools shared what it is as a district in each of the best practices.
“We created an iBook, which is kind of portfolio, of all the things that we’ve done that would meet each of their descriptions,” Swickheimer said.
Apple will publish Noblesville Schools’ story, among others honored, so others can see what Noblesville Schools has done that Apple considers best practice.