Downey Unified is home to 22,000 students from transitional kindergarten through grade 12 across 22 schools, including eight Apple Distinguished Schools. More than 10 years ago, the district began using iPod touch to aid with reading fluency for English language learners. Fast forward to today, and all elementary schools provide an iPad to every student and, since the pandemic, middle schools are also 1:1 with iPad.
Downey follows the coherence model, where all schools have the same access to technology, education, tools, and services. For example, each school has an Innovation Lab with coding, robotics, and green screen film projects, and Student Tech Squads provide leadership opportunities where older students mentor younger students and facilitate districtwide creativity and innovation competitions. In addition, a cornerstone at Downey is that all educators are provided professional learning opportunities — and since it launched in 2021, this includes Apple Learning Coach. To date, Downey has 15 certified Apple Learning Coaches, with an additional five educators currently enrolled in the program.
Through a mix of self-paced lessons and virtual workshops with Apple Professional Learning Specialists, each Apple Learning Coach gains a deeper understanding of how to support teachers in the classroom as they integrate technology into learning. Upon completing the program, each Apple Learning Coach comes away with an actionable coaching portfolio they can begin using immediately.
Marnie Luevano was certified as an Apple Learning Coach last year. Her role as an instructional technology coach at Downey Unified brings her into the district’s elementary schools, where she helps teachers reimagine how they use Apple technology to supercharge lessons.