CMSD Gets Hundreds of iPads from Verizon as Part of Digital Inclusion Program

Students have taken lead at Euclid Park, where a Tech Team and a Fab Lab create opportunities for innovation

Mr. Peter Rado and members of the student tech team logging the distribution of devices to parents and students. - Courtesy CMSD
Courtesy CMSD
Mr. Peter Rado and members of the student tech team logging the distribution of devices to parents and students.

On Thursday of last week, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Euclid Park School held an event to distribute iPads with data and connectivity to its 5th through 8th grade students. The iPads come courtesy of Verizon as part of a nationwide initiative focused on addressing barriers to digital inclusion.

Euclid Park School is one of five middle schools within CMSD to join this program. Kenneth W. Clement Boys Leadership Academy, George Washington Carver STEM School, Garfield School, and Douglas MacArthur Girls Leadership Academy, were the other participating schools.

Students at Euclid Park took the lead at the event and set up informative stations to help parents, fellow students, and staff learn more about the iPads and what innovations they can bring.

Among the student leaders was 8th grader Mekhi Blevins, who spoke to Scene about the event. He shared that he saw the pure joy and happiness on the students' faces when they received their iPads, and he believes they have created an uprising in the learning and teaching process within Euclid Park School.

Blevins took a lead since the very beginning of the process in joining the Verizon Innovative Learning program and continues to do so, according to Euclid Park Principal Jennifer Woody. Staff members also shared that they believe his determination was one of the reasons why Euclid Park School was selected.

“The Verizon iPads have had a big motivational and revolutionary turn in learning today because we can do more learning in creative ways,” Blevins said.

Malia Henry, another 8th grade student at Euclid Park, shared her feelings about the iPads.

“They’re a great way to learn quicker instead of using paper and pencil," she said. "It’s easier for people to understand quicker and teachers can get their lessons done faster. They create new and fun ways for students to learn."

As a complement to the iPads, a Student Tech Team was formed at Euclid Park School. Frequent meetings are held to share ideas on how to have more accountability with the devices, how to support teachers, how to repair the iPads, and more.

“The Student Tech Team is aligned to the Verizon and Digital Promise goals of empowering students to take on leadership roles in the school community through the familiarization and learning of how to resolve technology issues," said Principal Woody. "Through their participation in the Student Tech Team, Euclid Park scholars are able to extend their digital learning capacity while being leaders amongst leaders."

Woody also said she believes the Student Tech Team can help students develop a skill set that they can carry with them through high school and into trades. She observed, moreover, that the tech team has improved student behavior.

Raquel Chick, teacher and Verizon innovative coach at Euclid Park, spoke about the effect the program has shown thus far.

"When we found out we were selected, students were involved and were empowered to use their voices in a way they haven't used before, even just in the planning," she said. "I am excited to see the directions this will take students and teachers and how it will transform the learning at Euclid Park School."

Euclid Park School received roughly 120 iPads, and they want to ensure that transfer students and students beyond 5-8 grade have the opportunity to embark on this journey with technology as well.

In addition to the iPads, Euclid Park School provides a computer lab, nicknamed the “fab lab,” that creates a space for students to embark in “creative learning and makerspace activities.”

Principal Woody believes that the Verizon Innovative Learning program gives students the opportunity to leverage technology into a more positive thing, after years of remote learning. It creates a space for students to connect with one another, other schools, different parts of the U.S, other tech teams, and more.

The program can create “lots of opportunities for students and staff to grow and succeed in the digital world,” she said.

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