Ivanka Trump and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, were in Wilder for just a couple of hours this morning to see firsthand how the school district is better preparing America's future workforce, using Apple products.
It’s a meeting that has been in the works for a while, on the side of Apple and the White House, but just days in the making for Wilder School District.
"We didn't have full confirmation until I think a few days ago where it was set in pretty strong that it was going to happen," said Wilder Superintendent, Jeff Dillon.
Daughter and advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, paid a special visit to a rural school district; one of the poorest in the state, home to a mere 550 students.
"Both Mr. Cook and Ms. Trump were very pleased with the vision, the direction, the support of our school board," said Dillon.
It's a White House effort to promote an interest in STEM education in schools across America, as well as get some of the most at-risk kids in the country off the streets and into classrooms.
"We're changing a narrative for kids. We're giving them the tools to be successful in life," said Dillon.
In 2016, Apple and Sprint teamed together to donate iPads to every student in the Wilder District, as well as Macs and iPads for all teachers.
The response since then has been double-sided.
"My son is in first grade, and in kindergarten, he was struggling a lot with his reading, and his math and all that. And now he's in first grade and they're using the iPads, and he's doing really good," said Lydia Salgado, parent of a first grader in the Wilder School District.
While other students feel teachers need to be utilized more, "I feel like it's not so much a waste of money, just the way it was implemented was completely wrong. It was implemented as a way to get rid of teachers completely," said Thomas Denny, a student in the Wilder School District.
Superintendent Jeff Dillon said that while test scores are low, the district has a 93% graduation rate, so he is “happy with that”.
The White House says the visit “reaffirms the administration's commitment to STEM and C-S education as a pathway to ensuring America's future workforce is equipped with skills and knowledge required to succeed in our increasingly digital economy”.
Following the visit, the school district tells us they believe this technology supplemented education is the best way to prepare students for success moving forward.
Nicole Foy of The Idaho Press first reported the visit on Monday.
The visit was related to technology and how the district uses it to advance education in the district. The topic didn't come without protesters, some of whom were students and parents who expressed concerns and disagreements with how the district handles Apple products and other technology.
Great being with @TimCook in Wilder, ID today and meeting so many exemplary students, teachers and administrators. @Apple’s public-private partnership illustrates the power + potential of #Tech to revolutionize education and prepare America’s students for success! pic.twitter.com/zB1lLjAyyh
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) November 27, 2018
The White House press office sent a release detailing Apple's donated iPads for students, Macs and iPad for teachers, and LCD screens and Apple TVs in classrooms. It also made reference to the White House's Pledge to America's Workers from July of this year.
According to the release, Trump, Cook and Wilder School District Superintendent Jeff Dillon toured the 1st-grade classroom of teacher Lynn Rivera and the 5th and 6th-grade classes in the media library of teacher Stephanie Bauer.
In 2016, Apple and Sprint donated one iPad per student, helping the rural school with access to technology.
In 2017, 6 On Your Side employees had the pleasure of delivering hundreds of donated books to students in the district, where discussed in detail the advanced technological curriculum and how it's affected the district.
Photo from Ivanka Trump's Twitter account.