East Texas' iSchool in demand

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The capacity is already maxed at a new high-tech school opening its doors in August. Cumberland Academy Charter School has a new location on Shiloh Road and Chad Drive in Tyler. The charter school is the first in Texas to build an "iSchool", partnering with technology giant, Apple.

There are a number of reasons the demand is high for this form of education. A lot parents want their children to have access to the latest technology that will keep their attention and engagement in the classroom. Not to mention that as a charter school funded by the state, admission is free.

Cameron Bassinder is counting down the days to the start of third grade in this new school with new gadgets.

"He's looking forward to the iPod touch," said Stephanie Bassinder, his mother. "He's been begging to get his hands on one for awhile."

"If they're attracted to the technology they will learn better, they will learn more, they will learn faster," said Cumberland Academy's Principal James Moyers.

Principal Moyers says the iSchool is modeled from one he visited in Utah where students learn core curriculum in a digital format on laptops and iPods.

"Eventually students will be able to take an iPod home, do their homework, email it back to the school, that kind of thing," he explained.

Teachers will have new Promethean boards which are connected to computers and are interactive.

Stephanie is also a teacher at the school and is hopeful the new approach will grab students' attention and help prepare them for the future.

"Most of the time the kids are fighting for computer time, 'We want our computer time,'" she said. "Now, if we can use that and integrate that in the classroom, I think it's really going to make a difference."

The only downside is the limited space. It has not even officially opened and they're out of room.

"I actually know of a few parents whose one child got in and the other child didn't because the grade level filled up but they're not too down hearted they said they're going to wait on the list and see," said Stephanie.

Principal Moyers says they already have more than 100 students on a waiting list. It is kindergarten through sixth grade and holds about 400 students. Doors are set to open August 23rd.

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