MSA-West selected National Apple Corporation Distinguished School for third straight year

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Front from left, MSA-West Faculty Representative Loren McIntyre, K-5th Grade Director Sondia Funchess, 6th-12th Grade Director Candice Breaux, Iberville Parish Public School Chief Academic Officer Elvis J. Cavalier, Iberville Parish School Board Member Polly Higdon, Apple Corporation's Maureen Brim and Superintendent Dr. P. Edward Cancienne. Back, Iberville Parish Schools' technology staff Robert Luckett, Sam Bell, Doug Durand, Eon Simon and Technology Director Richard Ellis.

PLAQUEMINE - The Math, Science and Arts Academy-West in Iberville Parish has been nationally recognized with an award from the Apple Corporation for the unprecedented third consecutive year.

MSA-West was selected an "Apple Distinguished School" for a two year period, also an unprecedented achievement.

The award criteria included visionary leadership, technological infrastructure to support digital learning, encouraging teaching and learning methods, evidence of ongoing professional development, one-on-one access to portable computers or mobile devices and a systematic approach to evaluating the results.

MSA-West has been named as one of only 200 in the United States as an "Apple Distinguished School" for using educational technology to motivate student and to improve scores in math, science and the arts.

All of the students wore new student-designed t-shirts with art depicting "Peace, Love, Computers" as they recited their mission and viewed creative videos, music and dance performances to a full house of students, parents, and supporters of the school.

The award was presented on Jan. 24, by Maureen Brim, Apple Senior Account Executive/K12 Education, in the form of a large Apple embossed and framed certificate for the school.

"The Apple Corporation is giving the award for a two-year time period because of the significant demonstration of excellence made by the students of MSA-West," Brim said.

The Apple award was presented to MSA-West administrators, Superintendent Dr. P. Edward Cancienne, Iberville Board Member Polly Higdon, Chief Academic Officer Elvis J. Cavalier, school administrators and members of the Iberville Parish technology team.

The school, which has undergone a multi-million renovation and construction adaptive building transformation, is located on the E. J. Gay Campus on La. 1, south of Plaquemine.

It has a STEM center and has a new Performing Arts Center with specialized classrooms and practice rooms to enhance the use of technology and learning experiences.

In 2009, MSA-West added a comprehensive Apple educational program for teachers and a one-to-one laptop initiative for students.

The IPSS incorporated intensive training for teachers to utilize digital hardware and software to promote learning. The school is now a showcase for schools around the state and in the nation.

"Scores, attendance, leadership and community service all improved markedly because of the enthusiasm and love of technology," Cavalier said.

Apple selected 200 schools in the nation this year. The award includes faculty member participation in special training at a national conference in the summer.

MSA-West was chosen because of its exceptional academic success, including raising scores above those of university-based k-12 schools in the state.

In addition, Apple recognized MSA-West for its one-to-one student laptop initiative and its professional development with teachers in the use of digital technologies in teaching strategies.

"With this technology and teachers willing to use it creatively, we have seen nothing but success for students who seek to compete in this changing environment," Cancienne said.

Perhaps one of its most important criteria is that the program is viewed as an innovator and a leader by other educational institutions as evidenced by the award from Magnet Schools of America and Emerging National Magnet School of Excellence, Cancienne said.