“We believe Apple Distinguished Schools are some of the most innovative schools in the world,” begins the Apple Distinguished School website. “They’re centers of leadership and educational excellence that demonstrate our vision of exemplary learning environments.”
Apple has designated Jackson Academy an Apple Distinguished School for the fourth time, first in 2013, then again in 2015, 2017, and 2019. JA is among a small number of schools in 34 countries to receive the honor.
“The selection of Jackson Academy as an Apple Distinguished School highlights our success as an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment,” said Head of School Jack Milne.
JA teachers use technology to inspire student creativity, foster collaboration, and stimulate critical thinking. School leaders seek to cultivate an environment in which students are excited to learn, where their natural curiosity is enlivened, and where they feel empowered to initiate their own learning opportunities.
For example, using their iPads, students created posters to inform the campus community about the importance of kindness and responsibility when using social media. In STEM labs, students have used augmented reality in virtual frog dissections on iPads before they put what they learned into practice in the hands-on lab. In Lower School and Middle School, students experience coding, and in Lower School Genius Hour, students select a research topic and create a Keynote presentation, iBook, or iMovie to illustrate their research topic.
A one-to-one environment, where each teacher and student is issued an Apple device, is a requirement to become an Apple Distinguished School. Other requirements involve faculty’s integration of digital resources into the curriculum, documentation of results, demonstration of continuous improvement, and faculty proficiency in teaching using Apple products. JA reached 100 percent Apple Teacher proficiency in 2017; 75 percent is required to become an Apple Distinguished School.
JA has hosted 25 other schools that have viewed JA’s technology implementation. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Education toured JA.