Apple officials on Monday greeted Jewish Academy of Orlando students and staff with an award for using Apple products to further their commitment to technology and educational excellence.

The Jewish Academy of Orlando is the first private school in the Central Florida area to receive the Apple Distinguished School Award, Apple officials said. Ocoee Middle School in the Orange County Public Schools district received the award in 2010, 2011, and 2012, the school's website shows.

Linda Dombchik, director of technology at the Jewish Academy said the school "realizes the importance of placing these technology tools at the fingertips of our teachers and students enabling our faculty to foster an individual approach that encourages each student to become an independent learner and develop the valuable critical thinking skills necessary for success."

Officials at the Jewish Academy said the school has nearly 400 Apple products, including iPads, laptops, desktop computers, and iPods. Every classroom has an Apple TV.

"One of the greatest additions to the school’s technology arsenal has been the installation of Apple TV into the classrooms. This new tool has allowed teachers to simultaneously use multiple technology instruments to present information, practice skills, and provide immediate response to the students for evaluation of mastery of skills," officials said.

Students can access virtual courses on their MacBooks, read digital textbooks on iPads, and access tips from a teacher-written iBook to improve writing skills.

They can also submit an assignment electronically and receive instant feedback from their teachers through eBackpack, an internet-based, iPhone, and iPad application that lets teachers and students securely store files online.

Apple officials said schools must meet strenuous requirements for the award.

The process begins with a recommendation from an Apple Distinguished Educator and other schools to the tech giant's in-field development staff. Those schools then create an application on iBooks Author -- Apple's tool for creating interactive e-books -- and submit it to Apple.