Wahluke School District Students Get iPads Through Apple Connect - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wahluke School District Students Get iPads Through Apple ConnectEd Grant

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MATTAWA, WA - In 2013,President Obama launched the ConnectEd initiative to get Fortune 500 tech companies involved in education. Now, kids in the Wahluke School District school district are benefiting from this program through a grant that will put iPads in the hands of every student and global access at their fingertips. Right now they've launched the program with the 8th grade class at Wahluke Junior High (WJH). 

"We were talking to kids in Norway for example. We just did a Google hangout with them and we wouldn't have those opportunities if it wasn't for the iPads," said Andrew Harlow, Wahluke Junior High Principal. 

Opportunities that will make a world of a difference in a district where nearly 100% of students are on free and reduced lunch and where many students end up missing class because their families are seasonal migrant farm workers. But the iPads could change that.

"If they're gone for 3 months, they're not missing anything in my classroom," said Bridget Mitchell, art teacher at WJH. 

That's just one of the many ways Mitchell plans to use this technology. 

If they finish a project early, I want to video tape myself giving art lessons," said Mitchell. 

There's also the benefit of convenience. 

"We do a lot of debating, based off of research papers so just the paper saved alone is going to be amazing," said Rachel Greshock, 8th grade teacher. 

Beyond the classroom, the district expects the impact will also trickle into the community. While the district has been met with some push back from parents, they're confident the results will speak volumes. 

"We have to give these kids an opportunity and they can push back but I think as soon as they see the impact it's going to make on these kids and how they're going to become better speakers, writers and readers, I think it will be worth it," said Greshock. 

And level the playing field.  

"When they graduate, they're going to have the skills that kids from Mercer Island, Bellevue, Tri-Cities have. Wherever they are, they're going to have those same opportunities," said Lauren Venera, 6th grade teacher. 

The Apple ConnectEd grant was given to 114 schools across the nation.