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Rural Idaho school district named top in the nation for innovation

iPads, 3-D printers, and an animation studio are just a few of the technology tools the Wilder School District has implemented into its curriculum.

WILDER — A small, rural school district in the Gem State is shaking up the status quo of how students succeed.

The Wilder School District is receiving national recognition from the School Superintendents Association and the Successful Practices Network for being one of the most innovative school systems in the country.

Accolades you might not expect for a rural farming community.

"We have stepped outside the box significantly in a lot of ways," says Wilder Superintendent Jeff Dillon.

Since partnering with the tech giant Apple, both Wilder middle and high schools are just two of 114 schools in the nation to be a Connect ED-Apple School.

This means every student and teacher is equipped with an iPad and every classroom has an Apple TV.

Teacher Stephanie Bauer says it allows the kids to learn at their own pace.

"It’s personalized for the student, so they are not getting bored, they are not getting information that is too hard for them. They are getting information that they can comprehend and understand, so they are able to grasp it and I think move at a quicker pace," says Bauer.

Bauer adds the technology allows Wilder teachers to break down barriers of traditional grade-level school.

"For instance, I have my reading levels in my class I have a second-grade reader all the way up to 7th or 8th-grade reading levels, and everything in between. So, I deal with working with students at those levels," says Bauer.

And iPads aren't the only techy tools in classrooms.

Wilder has the 3-D printer, one of which students actually made.

"This is art, it’s part of technology so we infuse a variety of content into this area," says Dillon.

Wilder also has an animation studio, where students are currently choosing scenes from a Wizard of Oz storyboard and putting them to live animation for a national competition.

"We will send that to story maker and the best of the best will be selected for the nationwide release of this animation," says Dillon.

This new learning style gives the district flexibility so no student falls behind.

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