Four schools chosen as Apple Distinguished Schools

McManus Middle School, Soehl Middle School, School No. 1, and School No. 2 have earned recognition as Apple Distinguished Schools for their continuous innovation in teaching with technology. 


Four Linden Public Schools have earned recognition as Apple Distinguished Schools for their continuous innovation in teaching with technology.

McManus Middle School, Soehl Middle School, School No. 1, and School No. 2 have been recognized as centers of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence that use Apple products to inspire creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. They showcase innovative uses of technology in learning, teaching, and school environment and have documented results of academic accomplishment.

“We’re very excited to have four additional schools be recognized as Apple Distinguished Schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Marnie Hazelton. “Apple devices are key to preparing all of our students to succeed in an increasingly technology-based society. This recognition for McManus, Soehl, School No. 1, and School No. 2 reflects the great work being done in classrooms throughout our district.”

teacher and student high five

The schools join a prestigious group of over 500 schools worldwide. There are 12 Apple Distinguished Schools in New Jersey – seven of which are in Linden. These four join Schools No. 6, 8, and 10, which were previously included in 2017 and 2019.

Linden’s Technology One-to-One initiative is key to the success of students at all the Linden Public Schools, and the seven Apple Distinguished Schools are models of that success. Each student in elementary and middle school is provided with an iPad tablet, and all high-schoolers are provided with a MacBook Air laptop. Technology is a stand-alone course in elementary and middle school and is infused into the curriculum in math, language arts, social studies, science, and a wide range of elective courses at all grade levels.

McManus Principal Atiya Perkins said that being included as an Apple Distinguished School is an incredible accomplishment for the whole school community.

“We could not have achieved this recognition without the collaboration with our student leaders,” she said. “They pushed our staff to become proficient 21st-century teachers and learners of technology. As McManus continues to cultivate learning opportunities for all learners, this recognition allows us to connect with the global world far beyond the tool.”

teacher talking to student working in iPad

She credited former Vice Principal Wayne Happel and Apple Leadership Team teachers Faten Sumrein, Howard Schulz, Courtney Serpone and Melissa Higgins with leading the effort.

“The Apple Leadership Team is to be commended for showcasing our commitment to improving the learning environment for every student using technology,” she said. “Their dedication is astounding.”

Soehl Middle School Principal Gwendolyn Long said the school is excited to be included as an Apple Distinguished School.

“The Soehl Middle School community is truly honored to have our hard work and dedication recognized, as meeting the requirements of the Apple Distinguished Schools program,” she said. “We will continue to move forward in providing engaging and rigorous learning experiences, integrated with technology, for our students.”

She and former Principal Isabella Scocozza led the Apple Leadership Team of teachers Russell Marchica, Vanessa Kennaway, Durrell Burress, and Walter Schweikardt.

School No. 1 Vice Principal Nicole Frankonis said the recognition shows the school’s innovative use of technology.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized for the innovative and creative ways our students demonstrate their understanding,” she said. “This was a team effort to share the ways School No. 1 provides students with the opportunities to collaborate, challenge each other, and create. We believe this empowers our learners to take ownership of their learning.”

Frankonis and former Principal Dona Preston led the Apple Leadership Team of teachers Kimberly Bachmann, Samantha Gallo, Nancy Koziol, Michael Mastriano, Samantha Nagengast, Sabina Robinson, Shannon Spaziani, Dominick Tripodi, Gina Ortiz, and Christina Dybas.

students working on ipads

School No. 2 Principal Peter Fingerlin said the importance of Apple technology goes beyond the classroom and into the community.

“This undertaking was so important to us and centered around sharing our story of how we connect School No. 2 to our entire school community,” he said. “Engaging parents through the utilization of our district’s technological resources has never been more important. This Apple Distinguished School designation demonstrates the dedication our staff, students, parents, and our entire district.”

Fingerlin and Vice Principal Rachelle Crawley led an Apple Leadership Team of Frank Minniti, Michelle Diaz, Samantha Rodrigues, Allison Rotola, Ryan Van Vliet, and Sardou Sanvil.

“A big thank you to our Apple Leadership Team and a special shout out to Mr. Sardou Sanvil for creating such engaging and powerful videos,” Fingerlin said.

McManus and Soehl are each home to nearly 700 students in Grades 6 through 8, and Schools No. 1 and 2 are home to Grades Pre-K through 5, with 370 and 500 students, respectively.

– Story by Gary Miller

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