iPad Policies


All use of 1:1 devices at all Arlington Public Schools are subject to the APS Digital Device Handbook.

Early Grades

Students in Grades PK through 2 have access to small classroom sets of iPads through their teachers. These devices are exclusively used for instruction, and only with direct teacher supervision.

In an internal action research study conducted in April of 2017 and confirmed in the Spring of 2019, students in early grades use an iPad for instruction an average of 14 minutes total for the day, on days when the iPads are in use. iPads are used on average of 2.7 days per week across this age range. Students in Grade 2 use the devices in a range between 10 minutes per day three times a week to 40 minutes a day four times a week, depending on the learning activity at hand. Students in Grades K-1 use the devices far less.

It is essential in the 21st century that children have the opportunity to utilize devices that will be ubiquitous in their futures under appropriate, supervised, educational conditions. Additionally, students are able to experience individualized and immediate response and feedback from the few apps that we use, which have been hand-selected for educational value, developmental appropriateness, and safety, including a “zero-tolerance” policy for marketing that is in place at Discovery.

They are not issued to students, and are kept in the classroom, for use in educational technology-integrated lessons designed by the teacher, often in concert with the educational technology administrator, who coaches staff on best- and research-based practices in effective, developmentally-appropriate uses of these devices for learning. Students are not permitted to use these devices simply “to play around.” Their use in the classroom is circumscribed and intentional. Please visit the Parent Media Academy to learn more about this.

1:1 Program

Students in Grade 3 at each school in the Arlington Public Schools are issued an APS-owned, APS-issued iPad.

In an internal action research student conducted in January and February of 2016-17, on average, these devices are used for instruction an average of 90 minutes each day, across upper grade levels. This research was confirmed as consistent in 2019. Students in Grade 4, for example, use the devices between 45 and 90 minutes per day, most days. They are not used every minute of the day, nor are they allowed to be used, by policy, during:

  • Lunch, to promote prosocial interaction
  • Recess, to promote free physical play
  • Extended Day, unless specifically granted permission by the teacher and the family to use the device for an academic purpose in a supervised setting (Please see Extended Day below)
  • Reading for pleasure, which must be done using a physical book, as recent research indicates that while many students prefer e-readers, many students’ comprehension performance in non-article text is slightly better on physical paper

These devices are learning tools to be used in the context of the APS Personalized Learning initiative. This is a county-level program not specific to Discovery. Please visit the APS Personalized Learning website to learn more about this program.

The iPads issued are purchased, owned, managed, and maintained by the APS Department of Information Services.

For information regarding responsibilities for devices, including breakage, negligence, and intentional damage, as well as potential associated cost, please visit the Device Damage page on the APS website.

Extended Day

As a general rule, students are not permitted to use their 1:1 iPads at Extended Day.

This is to ensure that the devices are used for their intended instructional purpose; to minimize exclusively-recreational device use time in favor of more active alternatives; and to ensure the Extended Day program implements its co-curricular program.

There may be times at which a student has an instructional activity to work on that requires the use of the iPad. In the event that the teacher approves this instructional activity (for example, working on a long-term project), families will be asked to approve. Mr. Reeves, the Technology Coach, will contact the family directly (using the email they have on file with APS) and request their approval. This is to give families control over iPad time outside of the instructional day.

If the parent or guardian does not approve, there is no negative consequence. The student will simply continue participating in regular Extended Day activities.

If the family does approve, for a specific period of time during the Extended Day Program, the student will be permitted to work on that specific instructional activity. This will be denoted by the issuing of an “iPad Passport.” Students will be supervised in this use by Extended Day Staff.

This procedure has been communicated to all Discovery staff.

If you have any questions, please inquire with Mr. Reeves at keith.reeves@apsva.us.


The devices in the APS program are managed by a mobile device management system, or MDM. This MDM controls the settings on each iPad, for each student. The MDM used in APS is called AirWatch. All device restrictions and settings are controlled centrally by the APS Department of Information Services. Neither individuals nor schools can modify these settings.


The Apple App Store is disabled, by policy, meaning your student cannot download and install apps normally. The only apps available on the device are those vetted, selected, approved, and deployed by APS. For county-provided apps, this vetting is done in conjunction with the APS Department of Information Services and the APS Department of Instruction. For school-provided apps, this vetting is done by the Instructional Technology Coordinator at each school. At Discovery, the ITC is Mr. Reeves. This vetting includes examining apps for instructional soundness, student data privacy policy compliance, and the avoidance of marketing to children. These approved apps are delivered by the App Catalog, which is a part of the AirWatch MDM described above. These apps are either free, or paid for by either APS or the school. There is no direct cost to families.

Internet Content

To learn about how Internet Content is filtered by the APS Department of Information Services, as required by Federal Law, please visit http://discovery.apsva.us/blocking.

Accessing Student Work

In all Arlington Public Schools, to see what your student sees, parents should log in as their students.

To log in to your student’s Google Classroom, navigate your Chrome browser to http://classroom.google.com. You can also do this on any mobile device through the Google Classroom App. Sign in to Google Classroom using your student’s user name, which is their APS Student ID Number, followed by @apsva.us. For example, if your student’s ID number was 123456, your student’s user name is 123456@apsva.us. (It looks like an email address, but APS does not permit or provide student email; the Gmail module is disabled in the G Suite for Education deployment in APS for students.)

Your student has a unique six-digit password. Ask your student for the password, and enter it.

You can now see what your student sees in their Google Classrooms. While we certainly invite and encourage you to view your child’s Google Classroom, remember that this is a child’s space, and is not a communication vehicle to message your child’s teacher. (And while it goes without saying, do not complete assignments for your student!) If you have any questions about how your child’s teacher uses Google classroom, you can contact that teacher by email.

The Arlington Public Schools deployment of the Google Apps for Education platform is governed by a master privacy agreement, which is available online here.