MSA-West selected distinguished school

Staff report
Math, Science, and Arts Academy-West Lower School Technology Coordinator Loren McIntyre shows kindergarten students how to take and show photos of themselves using new tablet technology. Shown with McIntyre are in back, Claire Bergeron, Skylar Northern and Abigail Morales and in front, Adonis Miller and Gracie Gulotta.

The nationally recognized Math, Science, and Arts Academy-West (MSA-West), a technology-enhanced magnet program, in the Iberville Parish School System (IPSS) has received the Apple Technology Distinguished School Award, one of only 43 in the nation. The MSA-West, located on the E. J. Gay Campus in Plaquemine, was also honored with the award last school year.

The announcement was made recently by Apple Corporation Vice President of Education Stephanie Carullo in a letter to Superintendent Edward P. Cancienne, Jr. The award was based on exemplary learning, innovation, leadership and educational excellence. The award is for the 2012-2013 school year.

Students in kindergarten through 12th grades are using technology at varying levels in every classroom. In addition, all students in 6th grade to 12th grades are assigned a computer in a new one-on-one initiative that is now part of every school in Iberville Parish.

Four years ago, MSA-West added a comprehensive Apple educational program for teachers and a one-on-one laptop initiative for their students. The IPSS incorporated intensive training for all teachers to utilize digital hardware and software to promote learning in all parish schools, based on the results of the MSA Academy.

"Student scores, attendance, completed assignments showed a marked improvement," said Elvis J. Cavalier, chief academic officer for Iberville Parish School System.

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 and or mobile devices, and a systematic approach to evaluating the results.

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

Apple selected 43 schools in the nation, three in Louisiana, including MSA -West, West Feliciana Middle School and Dunham School. The award includes faculty member participation in special training at a national conference in the summer.