El Segundo High School Named Apple Distinguished School

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.

“El Segundo High School is honored to be recognized as an Apple Distinguished School,” said ESHS principal Jaime Mancilla. “One of the things I have been most impressed with when observing classrooms in action is the innovative teaching and learning that is happening with iPads. Teachers have come up with ways for students to have flexible learning experiences. This gives students the opportunity to design personalized learning experiences, while still achieving the level of critical thinking necessary to complete assignments.”

The selection of El Segundo High School as an Apple Distinguished School highlights the school’s success as an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment. El Segundo High School first launched its Individualized Technology Initiative in 2014 as a pilot with a cohort of nine teachers and 512 students. Since then, the initiative has expanded to all 1,300 enrolled students led by three teacher cohorts, and iPads are being used as an instructional aid and student resource across all academic disciplines.

“The Individualized Technology Initiative is a testament to El Segundo High School teachers who are really innovative and eager to push the envelope on what they want to see happen in their classrooms, as well as what they hope to help their students accomplish,” said Jason Ito, ESHS social science teacher and the school’s liaison for this technology initiative. “A survey we conducted with our students revealed that 68 percent of students said they believe using an iPad has enabled them to perform better academically.”
 
The Individualized Technology Initiative has enabled ESHS teachers to create new and enhanced lessens by designing curriculum that challenges students on multiple levels. Curriculum has also been designed to shift the focus to project-based and inquiry-based assignments, which helps students become more engaged and accountable for their learning. The focus has moved away from the instructor, shifting toward the student or group of students to encourage collaboration.

“iPad is really giving the students ownership of their education,” said Ito. “This is not teacher driven; it is driven by each student’s desire to have the information delivered to him/her in a manner that facilitates the best learning outcomes for the individual.” To ensure parents were also on board, the high school hosted a “parents night” at the beginning of the school year to provide information on the Individualized Technology Initiative, why it was important, and what support would be provided to students and parents. More than 800 parents were in attendance and feedback has been positive. Parents said they have learned something new and students are applying what they have learned by teaching their family members how to use the technology in different ways.

“One of the most wonderful and unique things about El Segundo High School is the parent community’s support,” said Marisa Janicek, ESHS executive director of educational services. “The goal of incorporating this technology into ESHS student learning is to increase student engagement and creativity. Parents’ interest and involvement has allowed the students to deepen their understanding of what they are doing by explaining it to others in their families.”

About the El Segundo Unified School District
The El Segundo Unified School District (ESUSD) was established in 1912 to serve all of the residents living in the City of El Segundo and covers the western part of the city. ESUSD consists of six schools including the Eagle’s Nest Preschool, Richmond Street and Center Street Elementary Schools, El Segundo Middle School, El Segundo High School and the Arena/Virtual High School, as well as partnerships with the South Bay Adult School and California Regional Occupational Center (SoCal ROC).