ALBANY – The Dougherty County School System is launching a new technology initiative for its students, teachers, and staff as part of a collaboration with Apple and educational non-profit Ed Farm. The initiative will allow DCSS to expand and enhance its educational technology ecosystem districtwide.
The initiative will put the district on the leading edge of technology by equipping all DCSS students, teachers and staff with Apple products, services and instructional supports. As part of this, the district will also launch DoCo Codes, a learning initiative designed to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow through the use of advanced technology.
“When it comes to innovation, the Dougherty County School System embraces it, encourages it and rewards it, and so to work alongside Apple, a world leader in technological innovation, is impactful for us and our students in a multitude of ways,” Superintendent Kenneth Dyer said. “It’s more than just technology. This collaboration embeds a full-time Apple Professional Learning Specialist in our community to build capacity among our teachers, instructional coaches and others.”
“I believe that we have a mandate to redefine and reimagine how people see education and that this partnership, and others that we’re creating, have the potential to not only improve the educational experience in Dougherty County, but to lift up the Southwest Georgia region as a whole. This collaboration has the potential to be a game-changer for our students and our community in so many ways.”
Beginning next year, all DCSS high school students will receive a MacBook Air powered by Apple’s M1 chip, while all middle and elementary school students will receive an iPad and Logitech Crayon. These products will allow all students equal access to their studies in the classroom, at home, and on the go. Students will have the opportunity to learn coding and app development through DoCo Codes, a transformational STEM-based initiative developed in collaboration between the DCSS, Ed Farm and Apple. The initiative will expose DCSS students to coding and app development using iPad and Mac together with Apple’s Everyone Can Code and
Everyone Can Create curricula. Leveraging the most advanced technology and software available, the collaboration is designed to promote student success by giving students an opportunity to learn how to build leading edge software and apps while staying here in Albany.
Additionally, Apple will provide dedicated, on-site professional learning for DCSS educators and staff, helping them maximize the impact of these tools and technologies in the classroom, in district offices, and at home. Ed Farm will also enhance professional development of teachers through its Teacher Fellows program which helps promote better learning outcomes for students by equipping teachers with tools and resources needed to cultivate the workforce of tomorrow.
“At Apple, we believe deeply that technology can empower students to develop creative and collaborative skills that will supercharge their future,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s Vice President of Education and Enterprise Marketing. “Providing all students, educators, and staff in Dougherty County Schools access to Apple products, as well as coding and creative curricula, will help inspire new talents and powerful innovation within the community.”
“We at Ed Farm are thrilled about this partnership and confident in DCSS’s commitment to equipping and empowering both their teachers and students with the skills and tools needed to be at the forefront of future-focused teaching and learning,” said Beth Sanders, Ed Farm’s Vice President of Learning.
Carrying the collaboration beyond the classroom is what makes this particular partnership unique, Dyer says. Over the next few months, the district will be integrating Apple products throughout the organization – top to bottom.
“I believe that the synergy that comes with having a top-to-bottom computing environment will not only lead to increased operational efficiency, but productivity for the district as well and we’re excited to see where that can take us,” Dyer said.
In 2014 the Dougherty County Board of Education and Dougherty County School System helped lead a wave of technological advancements in education in Southwest Georgia by investing more than $14.6 million in network infrastructure improvements and technology purchases – a move that put a personalized learning device in every student’s hand. The move helped make the district one of the state’s few true 1-to-1 school districts. Today, the district carries on that spirit of innovation through this collaboration with Apple and Ed Farm.
“In the technology world, Apple is synonymous with innovation,” Dyer said. “In the education arena, each day we strive to be innovators in our own right. Through this shared philosophy, we’re exposing our students and employees to opportunities beyond the boundaries of what we think is possible. It’s an exciting time to be in the Dougherty County School System.”
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