The Vail, Ariz., school system (located about 30 miles south of Tucson) transitioned to Mac OS X 10.2 this year and those involved are “very happy we did,” Matt Federoff, director of technology and an Apple Distinguished Educator, told MacCentral.
The Vail School District is home to 5,300 students across nine schools. It’s also home to 1,100 Macs. The system has had pervasive wireless at all the schools since 2000 — thanks to Apple, of course, Federoff said. Plus, there’s an Xserve at every site (and two at the high school).
“We also use Apple’s PowerSchool to manage our schools and have done so since before Apple bought the company,” he added. “We’re still the only district in southern Arizona that offers student grades and attendance to parents over the Web. PowerSchool is a huge win for Apple that really gets very little attention or press. But with over 250 parent visits a day to our Web site (that happens to have a big Apple logo on it), it’s got to help the platform.”
The Vail School District also has a program for teachers called CLIP (Computer Literacy Incentive Program). Educators takes six computer proficiency tests: four on AppleWorks, one on Mac OS X desktop skills and one on the Internet. Once a teacher passes all six, they’re equipped with a wireless iBook. If the teacher stays with the system for two years, the iBook is his or hers to keep.
“We’ve given away hundreds of iBooks over the past three years and converted all those folks to the Mac platform for good,” Federoff said. “My superintendent has a TiBook that he uses for everything. He even edited his daughter’s wedding video on it … the platform battles have really come to an end here (particularly after the latest Windows virus fiasco) and small battles are being won here in rural Arizona for the Mac platform.”
An Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) is an individual from Pre-K through Post Graduate School and is established in their respective field as an outstanding pioneer. The competitive ADE program recognizes over 240 exceptional educators throughout the world to promote excellence in education through technology. As mentors, the ADEs teach, demonstrate and share their expertise and enthusiasm with others.