A ‘distinguished’ division

Notre Dame's lower division gets rare designation as an Apple Distinguished School.

Notre Dame's lower division has been recognized by Apple as a distinguished school for its iPad-powered continuous innovation in learning, teaching, and the school environment for 2019-2021. Only about 400 schools are recognized worldwide by Apple with this designation.

"With the technology integration in the lower division, our students are so much more prepared for their later academic career as we regularly hear from our middle- and upper-school teachers," said Eden Konja, director of information and academic technology for NDPMA. "They say the students are creative, can type well, understand file use, and are able to utilize digital tools efficiently."

The Apple Distinguished School designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments. NDPMA's lower division went totally one-to-one with iPad use for its students in November of 2013 and upgraded with new devices and an Apple server in 2016. The school's middle and upper divisions became one-to-one with Microsoft Surface tablet use at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

Lower-division principal Diana Atkins is excited about the new designation by Apple. 

"Apple Distinguished Schools utilize technology to create academic outcomes," she said. "As such, this creative and technology leadership provides opportunities for students to be innovative with their learning. This is achieved through cultivating flexible learning spaces, collaboration, and critical thinking. The Apple technology promotes students to be excited about their learning experiences." 

According to Apple, Distinguished School leaders, faculty, and the extended community have a clear vision for how their technology-rich environments support learning goals. 

"School leaders have established elements for continuous innovation that include culture, team, capacity, community, finance, and measurement," the company said in a news release. "Supporting their school’s vision is an ongoing process that requires thoughtful planning, practice, and improvement along the way. They use iPad and Mac products to inspire student creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. And they cultivate environments in which students are excited and curious about learning."

Andy Hopkins, the technology teacher at the lower division, was named in 2017 as an Apple Distinguished Educator, which means he was one of a only a relative few in the world recognized as K–12 and higher-education pioneers who are using Apple technology to transform teaching and learning.

"Becoming an Apple Distinguished School helps give us a clear vision of innovation in the classroom," he said. "This creates a technology-rich environment for student to grow and excel in their learning."

More on Apple Distinguished Schools:
The Apple Distinguished School program is by invitation only for schools that meet the current program qualifications. Recognition is for three years, with an opportunity to renew each invitation period. The invitation process starts with school leaders from K–12 public and private schools requesting an invitation to apply for recognition as an Apple Distinguished School. Requests are reviewed by Apple to ensure that your school meets the necessary requirements. 

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org