by Cheryl Smithem

Charleston County’s Drayton Hall Elementary is a hotbed of digital learning thanks to College of Charleston graduate Kristi Meeuwse (M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education, ‘93) who was recently recognized as one of Apple’s Distinguished Educators (ADEs) for 2013. Meeuwse is one of just three teachers ever to be chosen from South Carolina.

After being selected, Meeuwse said, “I’m thrilled beyond words to be a part of this community and can’t wait to learn from the best of the best. The honor is incredible, but more importantly, the ability to work with some of the most amazing educators in the world is priceless.”

Apple notified Meeuwse of her selection on February 19, 2013. According to Apple, “Distinguished Educators are part of a global community of education leaders recognized for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. They explore new ideas, seek new paths, and embrace new opportunities. That includes working with each other—and with Apple—to bring the freshest, most innovative ideas to students everywhere.”

She’s one of 60 educators selected across the U.S. and Canada to be a part of 2013 ADE class. Previously only one South Carolina teacher had been selected for this honor. Two South Carolina teachers were chosen this year, of which Meeuwse is one.

Frances Welch, dean of the College’s School of Education, Health and Human Performance observed, “It’s wonderful to see private industry invest so heavily in advancing education through technology. We realize how critical it is for educators to integrate technology into their classrooms, so we include technology specific curriculum in our teacher education programs. We’re proud of Kristi for leading the way as an alumna of our school and in her school!”

All Drayton Hall Elementary students, including Meeuwse’s kindergarten students, use iPads in the classroom. For the last two years 100 percent of Meeuwse’s students were promoted to first grade reading above grade level.

Meeuwse achieved these outstanding results by mastering apps for the iPad and by implementing its use in all classroom endeavors. In her blog, ITeachWithiPads, she writes that after getting an iPad for use in the classroom in January 2011, “I worked on integrating the iPad to be part of our classroom, not a separate tool. Kids started excelling as I was able to differentiate and personalize activities for their needs. In May, just four short months later, my kids all went to first grade reading above grade level for the first time in my 22 years of teaching.”

Meeuwse continued her innovation after participating in Literacy Leader training and coupled teaching with the Reading and Writing Workshop model she learned. Currently her classroom serves as a Literacy Lab for the State of S.C. She mentors teachers in implementing the Reading and Writing Workshop Model in their classrooms as well as having observers come to see the model in place in her classroom.

For more information about Meeuwse’s honor or teaching with iPads, contact her at