Going to Smart School

This December, Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, Sen. Dean Cameron, and Director of Commerce Jeff Sayer, along with Principal Colleen Johnson from Paul Elementary, Minidoka Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Rogers and iSchool Campus executives, launched the first public Smart School in Idaho. The program is based on a partnership between Paul Elementary, Minidoka Schools and iSchool Campus.

The program encourages the deployment of whole-school technology in Idaho’s public schools. During the event, each student and teacher at Paul Elementary School received an iPad to facilitate 21st-century learning. The technology program will help the students develop the critical digital and technology skills needed to compete and thrive in a global digitally driven economy. The completion of the Paul Elementary School deployment marks one of the first of its kind in a public school setting nationwide. Government leaders and school officials conducted a tour of the school and observed the new technology that is implemented in every classroom.

The Smart School program at Paul Elementary provides the following deployment features: an Apple iPad for every student and teacher; comprehensive wireless infrastructure; flat screen TVs with device-mirroring technology; MacBook computers in every classroom; Internet security; and software and professional development for teachers, administrators and school technology officers.

Speaking to the students at Paul Elementary, Lt. Gov. Little says, “The most important thing we do as leaders of the state of Idaho is to give the next generation the best chance to succeed. The students at Paul will help make Idaho one of the most competitive places in the world. This technology is the conduit or the tool to help you be successful in the future.”

Sen. Cameron adds, “This is an exciting moment, and one of the most gratifying ones for a legislator. This technology will not replace our teachers, but will supplement what they can do and how they help you learn. The students of Paul Elementary will be the model that others will follow.”

“We believe this technology will become the norm in many classrooms around the state. We are excited to watch you progress and to roll out these opportunities to other schools around Idaho,” Speaker Bedke includes in the remarks to Paul Elementary students.

Paul Elementary is the first public school in Idaho to have one-to-one technology, providing each of the school’s 455 students and every teacher with his/her own iPad. “The iSchool partnership offers our students much more than just access to iPads,” states Colleen Johnson, Paul Elementary principal. “It is a gateway to information, resources, ideas and experiences that extend far beyond our classrooms. This program will result in high engagement, active learning and independent inquiry. In addition, the individualized learning opportunities also allow for tailored instruction and differentiated learning.”

William Nixon, CEO of iSchool Campus, the Utah-based company who partnered with the Idaho district to provide and implement the comprehensive technology makeover at Paul Elementary, cited the need for a technologically educated workforce as a driver for a prosperous economy. “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative to provide students and teachers in the Paul community with the opportunity to learn through innovative and imaginative methods.” A Smart School initiative, like the one-to-one technology implemented at Paul Elementary, will provide students the opportunity to develop critical learning skills that will make them competitive in post-secondary education and the workforce.

The Paul Elementary program also includes professional development and ongoing support for teachers, robust wireless infrastructure, safe and secure web filtering so students can work with their devices at home and proprietary software to connect students and teachers.

The Minidoka County School District, located in Rupert, Idaho, focuses on establishing and supporting 21st-century classrooms and learning; hiring, retaining and developing great teachers and leaders; and ensuring transparent accountability to all stakeholders. They implement best practices in curriculum with Common Core Standards, smarter balanced assessments and quality professional development. 

For more information on the district, please visit www.minidokaschools.org or follow them on Twitter @MinidokaSchools.
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