iPad Policies

iPads in Early Grades

Students in Grades PK through 1 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, students in Grades PK through 1 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.

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.

These devices are equipped with RetinaShield blue spectrum light filters in addition to their protective cases. 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 for “screen time,” which is the recreational use of the devices. Please visit the Parent Media Academy to learn more about this.

iPads in the 1:1 Program

Students in Grade 2 at each school in the Arlington Public Schools are issued an APS-owned, APS-issued iPad device. (As of Spring 2017, the currently-issued device is an iPad Air 2. Students who received devices prior to Spring 2017 likely have an iPad Air 1.)

In an internal action research student conducted in January and February of 2016-7, on average, these devices are used for instruction an average of 90 minutes each day, across all grade levels (2 through 5). They are not used every minute of the day, nor are they used, by policy, during:

  • Lunch, to promote prosocial interaction
  • Recess, to promote free physical play
  • Extended Day, to limit recreational “screen time,” unless specifically granted permission by the teacher and the family to use the device for an academic purpose in a supervised setting

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.


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 at Discovery, a zero-tolerance policy for 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.