If the future of learning at Revere High School (RHS) is in the electronic world, then it will be the iPad that will be the remote control for students at the school.
This past Monday night, the line stretched out the door as parents and young people waited to go into the RHS Field House.
There was an excitement that was quite apparent as incoming freshmen looked past the registration desk to see the boxes of brand new iPad 4 computers waiting for them.
After registering, students quickly broke open the boxes and took a look at the new machines – many already knowing exactly how to use them and how useful they will be in their upcoming high school years.
As school officials at RHS get ready to ramp up operations for the first day on Aug. 27th, they are preparing for a major change in the way learning happens at RHS – that being via iPad. Through a blend of state grants and budgeted funds, the district has rolled out a plan to provide the latest iPads to every student at the high school. Some 1,700 machines were ordered, and this week students began the process of collecting and learning about the new machines.
On Monday, parents seemed just as excited about the program as the kids collecting the machines. The new technology promised to replace many of the cumbersome textbooks and unnecessary paperwork – and also would free students to spend more time at home and fewer hours doing research at a library.
“I think it’s really awesome,” said Brenda Citino, mother of incoming RHS freshman Andres Irizarry. “A lot of kids can’t afford to buy their own iPads, so this helps everyone get access to the latest technology. I think it’s great they are pushing everything out to the iPad. It’s a wonderful idea. Plus, they don’t have to bring books home anymore and it’s just much more organized for the students.”
Over the next two weeks, students from all grades will be collecting their iPads (see accompanying schedule). District technology officials were equally excited, saying this is a major change for the high school and one that potentially has no limits.
“If the teachers embrace it, it will fly here,” said Steve Staff, an assistant network administrator for the schools. “I think it can become a way to communicate with the kids like they’ve never communicated with them before.”
Added District Network Administrator John Ferrara, “This is really the first technology project we’ve hat that we won’t keep going. It’s really the teachers that will keep it moving. Having all of these iPads in student hands will be what the teachers make of it, and we have some great educators here who will utilize this to the fullest.”
The iPads have been specially programmed to block out social media websites and any other inappropriate content so that students absolutely cannot use them to access things of a non-educational nature. Students will be taking the iPads home, and parents are required to present identification and to purchase a small insurance policy so as to protect the machines if they’re damaged. Students and parents are also required to attend a short training when picking up their machines.
Having iPads at RHS is not a completely new experience.
Last year, the Freshman Academy ran a PILOT program where all incoming freshmen (now incoming sophomores) received iPads for the year. Administrators worked out the kinks in the program and ended up having great success using the new technology.
Those machines – which were iPad 2 models – will now be sent over to the Garfield Middle School, where students there will now participate in the first middle school PILOT program.
Meanwhile, students in the fifth grade at the Paul Revere Elementary and the Lincoln Elementary have been involved in a program now for nearly two years that has infused laptop computers into the classroom. Those students, however, cannot take the computers home and can use them only for limited amounts of time. Nevertheless, students and teachers at the schools have trumpeted the program as an overwhelming success.
RHS Principal Lourenço Garcia and Superintendent Paul Dakin said they were absolutely sold on the idea of moving forward with computers in every students’ hands. They both said they believed it was the way of the future and something that will be common throughout the country in only a few short years.
RHS will be one of the first districts in the state to put iPads in the hands of every high school students. However, they certainly aren’t the first.
Burlington rolled out an identical program at its high school two years ago, and Ferrara and Staff said they consulted and visited Burlington prior to rolling out Revere’s iPad program. Both said they received a lot of advice from the technology department in that district, advice that they believe will ease the transition and smooth out potential problems before they happen.
One piece of advice administrators relayed to parents this week was to get the insurance policy prior to coming to the pickup location. While parents and students can obtain the policy at the pick-up, administrators said a lot of time and frustration could be saved by getting the policy in advance and bringing the ‘proof of insurance’ form that can be printed out.
To get the policy prior to the picking up the iPad, go online to my.worthavegroup.com/ReverePS. Instructions on the website will guide parents through the process. Additionally, parents or guardians must accompany their children at the pickup, and parents must show a photo ID upon registration.
All the rest of this week and into next week, the Revere High School will be teeming with students picking up their new iPads. Parents must accompany students to the pickup and must bring a photo ID. Anyone with questions can call (781) 286-8222. The following are the remaining pickup times in the RHS Fieldhouse (back entrance).
•Weds., Aug. 14th (Juniors), 4-7 p.m.
•Thurs., Aug. 15th (Seniors), 4-7 p.m.
•Monday, Aug. 19th (Freshmen), 9 a.m. – noon
•Tues., Aug. 20th (Sophomores), 9 a.m. – noon
•Weds., Aug. 21st (Juniors), 9 a.m. – noon
•Thurs., Aug. 22nd, 9 a.m. – noon
Incoming RHS freshman Dana Reyenger opens up his new iPad 4 Monday night at the RHS Fieldhouse as his parents, Maria Silva and Derek Reyenger, and friend, Matt Forti, look on with interest.