North High School Rolling Out 1:1 Laptop Initiative

North High School in Des Moines is continuing its transformation this year as the school prepares to roll out its 1:1 laptop initiative on October 12th and 13th. North is partnering with Apple to provide a MacBook laptop for each student as part of its transformation process under the School Improvement Grant received from the Iowa Department of Education. North will be the largest school in the state with such a program.

“Our goal is that all North High students will be passionately engaged in challenging coursework that is enhanced with technology and is meaningful for their lives,” said Mike Vukovich, North High Vice-Principal.

The 1:1 laptop initiative is part of a four-year transformation that North administrators, teachers, and staff are completing. Last year, teachers prepared to be part of a digital learning institute through extensive professional development and hands-on experience with the MacBook Pro laptops that the program provided to teachers.

According to Amanda Dvorak, a math teacher at North: “This has revolutionized the way I structure my curriculum and will engage my students through a method of learning relevant to them.”

On Wednesday and Thursday, each North High student and their parents or guardians will come to North to get their MacBook laptops during the time set aside for student-parent-teacher conferences.  Each family will be guided through a set of stations, receiving the laptop as well as an email address, in addition to having time for conferences.

“This effort is just one of many steps underway at North that is not only putting us on the right track, but making us a leader among Iowa’s high schools,” said principal Matt Smith.

North has already experienced success one year into its transformation. One example that showcases the growth at North are the gains in all areas of the Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED) last year, with a 19 percentage point gain in reading and science and a 9 percentage point gain in mathematics. North moved from last among Des Moines’ five comprehensive high schools to the second highest on the proficiency tests given during the 2010-11 school year.