At Mercy High School, it seems impossible to go anywhere without seeing a laptop, iPad, or Macbook Air. Students are reluctant to ever part from their technology, protesting when teachers occasionally ask them to put them away. Mercy has integrated technology into the classroom for many years, but it isn’t until this year that it’s been officially recognized. Mercy High School has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2013-2015.
To become an Apple Distinguished School, a school’s programs must meet certain criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear and consistent vision of exemplary learning environments. Apple Distinguished Educators advise Apple on integrating technology into learning environments, advocate the use of Apple products that help engage students in new ways, and participate in and present at education events worldwide. Over 2,000 schools worldwide have been recognized as Apple Distinguished schools.
To students, this honor does not mean much change. Technology has long been a part of the school’s curriculum as evidenced by the way it is present in daily life. All freshmen are required to take a Design Foundations course that teaches multimedia skills in photo, film, animation, and web design. Students collaborate writing and editing each other’s work using iOS apps; text, video, and audio recordings. An iWizard student technology team provides training and resources to the school community. Several faculty members present at regional conferences on topics related to instruction using the iPad.
“At Mercy, students have the opportunity to be technology teachers and program innovators,” said Dr. Cheryl Kreger, president of Mercy High School. “Mercy High School is always positioned for change because it has developed the capacity to learn and lead in the field of technology.”