We’re pleased to be recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2022-2025 for our use of Apple technology as a vital component of our digital ecosystem!
Central Elementary is a small, suburban school within the Elizabeth Forward School District located twenty miles southeast of Pittsburgh. We serve an educationally diverse group of students using various evidence- based teaching practices while incorporating the latest Apple technology. With 1:1 iPad integration, we have created a digital ecosystem giving students seamless access to a blended learning environment. Our focus is on creating personalized learning opportunities for each child and preparing them for tomorrow's challenges. Students develop a growth mindset in our safe and caring learning environment and are given opportunities to develop 21st Century Skills at each grade level.
At Central Elementary, our vision is to create a positive, safe, and inspiring learning environment where students can use the latest technology tools to advance their learning, pursue their aspirations, and contribute to the larger community.
Central teachers use the iPad, MacBook, and Apple TV daily in the classroom to enhance curriculum, create innovative projects, track student progress, and personalize learning for all students. The various applications help to further advance students in reading, math, and STEAM education. These tools allow our students to work at their own pace and provide the teacher with immediate data on student progress. Our second grade has developed digital data notebooks in Numbers to allow students to take ownership and set goals using math checks. Our kindergarten students participate in a competency-based badging system integrated through Badgr and our LMS, Canvas. Our music teacher creates interactive lessons in Keynote, GarageBand, and Badgr, allowing students to track their success and progress with the recorder and ukulele instruments. Central has opened its classrooms to over 200 school districts and shared its innovative learning and teaching practices with educators through one-on-one consultations, zoom training, and shared resources. Central Elementary believes failure is a valuable learning tool for problem-solving and critical thinking. Our highly rigorous STEAM curriculum focuses on collaboration and problem-solving. Our technology instruction would not be successful without the iPad. Our technology instructor uses iMovie to create life-like presentations with our fifth-grade students. K-5 students use various coding apps (e.g., Swift Playgrounds, Tynker Programming 101, Scratch, Scratch Jr., Codespark, Kodable, and Puzzlets). In addition, robotics programs are taught using Drones, VEX Robotics, Sam Labs, Lego WeDo 2.0, Dash, Finch, Bee-Bots, and Cubetto.
Using Apple products has led to many successes at Central Elementary. In addition to our school being designated a National Blue Ribbon School in 2019 for closing the achievement gap, Central reached Tier I Fidelity in PBIS Implementation in 2019 through 2021. Central was designated as a Common Sense Media School through 2025. Our District is a part of the League of Innovative Schools and was recently named a Lighthouse District. Central teachers have paved the way for other educators to witness how integrating Apple technology in the classroom can improve student achievement and classroom engagement. Our second-grade teacher, Angela Girol, was named Elementary Instructure Award Educator of the Year in 2021 for best practices in the classroom using Canvas.
Personalizing learning for all students will continue to be our focus at Central Elementary. Students will continue to use their iPad to access our LMS (Canvas) and various other apps to advance their academic skills. The iPads will be essential to implementing our new MTSS model due to easy access to the universal screener, benchmarking tools, and seamless access to individualized interventions. We will continue to build on the technology skills of our young students with our newly created green screen and morning announcements. The faculty will be receiving a new MacBook at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. The teachers and students will also be provided a new iPad during the 2022-2023 school year.