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From the moment you walk through the doors of the Montlieu Academy of Technology in High Point, NC, you know something special is happening. A second grade boy in a blue blazer and tie smiles and says, “Welcome to Montlieu Academy” and, holding up his iPad, “May I take your picture?”
That student will send your photo back to his class so that his teacher and classmates will know a visitor in on the way. As you follow him down the hallway to the classroom, you pass classrooms with large windows. At each doorway there is QR Code. When you scan the QR Code with a SmartPhone, iPhone or iPad, you can find out exactly what is going on in the room. And what is going on in those classrooms is getting attention from educators and businesses around the state.
Montlieu Academy, a magnet school not far from High Point University (HPU) in Guilford County, was considered an underperforming school until 2011. Test scores were below average and discipline problems and poor attendance were common.
Education leaders developed a bold new vision for Montlieu and, with grants from HPU and other partners, purchased iPads for every student and teacher in the school --kindergarten through fifth grade.
Principal Ged O’Donnell says the 1:1 iPad Initiative has revolutionized the school. In one year, reading scores shot up from the 47th percentile to the 59th percentile. Attendance has greatly improved; discipline problems have decreased. Montlieu has become a model school for North Carolina’s new Core Curriculum, bringing a new emphasis in the role of technology for students.
Producer Donna Campbell explored the classrooms of Montlieu last year for a series on North Carolina NOW. She interviewed teachers, students, parents and administrators about their iPad experiences. The result is a new 30-minute special, Power Up Time at Montlieu Academy.
More pictures from the project: