Augusta, Ga., Officials Visit Apple HQ, Study Ways Tech Can Help Failing Schools

The mayor will visit Apple headquarters “with hopes of partnership to improve our schools and assist with economic growth” in Augusta.

by Susan McCord, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga. / December 1, 2015

(TNS) -- Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis is traveling to the Cu­per­tino, Calif., headquarters of Apple Computer this week with Richmond County Schools Superintendent Angela Pringle and other local officials to study the use of technology to help turn around failing public schools.

Davis announced the trip on Twitter during a Monday online town hall meeting, saying he’ll visit Apple headquarters “with hopes of partnership to improve our schools and assist with economic growth” in Augusta.

School system spokesman Kaden Jacobs confirmed trip arrangements had been made over the Thanksgiving break after Davis extended the invitation he received from Apple.

The school system will pay travel expenses for Pringle, Director of Curriculum and In­struc­tion Shelly Allen and Information Technology Director James Lunsford to attend the Thursday session for systems with schools in danger of state takeover.

“For us, it’s an opportunity to look at personalized learning for children directly with a company, which is a rare event,” Jacobs said. “The meeting will focus on how technology can serve as a learning enabler and highlight schools and school leaders who have used technology to personalize learning and successfully turn around challenging schools.”

The system has 19 schools at risk for takeover in a decision that won’t be made until late next year.

Apple is paying for lodging at the conference, to which representatives of communities with at-risk schools were invited, Davis said.

While he presses the Au­gusta Commission to fund his dwindling budget through year’s end, Davis said the trip will cost the city just $196 for his airfare.

During the Twitter town hall, the mayor also touted his work with youth, including his Summer Earning and Learning and Power Lunch programs, and said his accepting President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” challenge has “greatly helped the students of Augusta.”

About 15 residents questioned Davis in the hourlong town hall session on topics that included improving down­town, public transit, the environment, involving the His­panic community and imple­mentation of a stormwater fee.

©2015 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.