Along with a new safety culture implemented through Italy ISD, the two campuses received technological advancements to aid academics.

The district purchased a total of 120 iPads for the elementary campus. These will be several available for teachers to check out as class sets. Currently, there are 340 students at Stafford Elementary.

“We are going to start targeting our younger grades first in pre-k, kindergarten, first, second and third. But anybody of the teachers at the elementary can check them out,” Italy ISD Superintendent Lee Joffre explained.

With a variety of outlets of innovative learning, Joffre explained the iPads were ideal for the youngsters.

“We wanted to put technology in students’ hands, and when you look at the hands of an early child-student, it’s very easy for them to manipulate a touchscreen type device like an iPad. […] It’s easier to hold for a younger child and navigate for a younger child,” Joffre elaborated.

The one-to-one initiative has started to be implemented at the high school level, which is when a device is issued to each student. For Italy ISD, this will be a four-year process that will target a different grade level each year. Starting in the 2018-19 school year, the freshmen will receive Chromebooks. The student will be able to utilize the device through and after high school.

“Our plan is to make sure all of our students will have a device whether that be a laptop device entering their freshmen year, keeping it through high school,” Joffre stated. “They will be able to take it home with them at the end of the school day, check it in at the summer time and then at the end of their senior year, they can take it off to college with them.”

He also mentioned that in the past year the Wi-Fi at the campuses has improved exponentially. Several hotspots were established throughout the schools to enhance the Wi-Fi access.

Joffre also praised the academic success of the "B" rating received by the Texas Education Agency.

"Although I am proud of the overall rating of a 'B,' I am most proud of the efforts of the staff to focus on the individual needs of each student," Joffre expressed.

Overall, the district received a score of 82, while Italy High School earned an 81 and three academic achievements in English/language arts reading as well as recognition in post-secondary readiness and was recognized in the top 25 percent of comparative academic growth. The Stafford Elementary campus scored a 75.

“We are continuing at looking into the future to see how we can improve and we are going to continue to do what we can, but right now this is it for us,” Joffre noted.

“We’ve got a really good community — Italy Independent School District is like many, many small towns. The school is the hub of the community. So, when we do well, it’s a result of the community supporting us, and I think Italy is lucky to have a supportive community,” Joffre concluded.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450