MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) — Thursday was a very big day for students at Andover Middle School in Miami Gardens, because it was iPad day.
“This is a dream come true, they’ve been waiting for this day since it was announced,” said Principal Kenneth Williams.
Andover was one of just eight schools in the state of Florida chosen to receive hundreds of iPad’s courtesy of Verizon’s Innovative Learning program. It is a nationwide $400 million dollar investment dedicated to bringing digital to schools.
Principal Williams says 80-percent of his students rely on free or reduced lunches so digital tablets are transformative.
“So many of our students, when it comes to doing digital with the assignments, may not have had the ability to do them at home,” said Williams.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho helped secure the investment for his District, which is worth 9-million dollars.
It is not just changing academic life for students he says, but life for their entire families.
Five of the eight schools chosen to receive the tablets were in Miami-Dade County; many were selected as being underserved.
Carvalho said it is about bridging a very real digital divide.
“It’s associated with poverty meaning poor zip codes have students generally who do not have connectivity at home.”
Two hundred iPads were handed out Thursday, but ultimately 500 will be given to students with potentially more to come and they are for personal and school use, which means the kids get to take them home.
For every iPad that goes home with a student, they also receive 10 gigs of data free of charge from Verizon for the next 2 years.
Students spent the morning learning how to use their new devices.
Eighth grader Ramaria Schilaire says it means access.
“It feels really exciting to have a new form of learning to know that it doesn’t stop at 3:50 p.m.,” she said.