OSPI-Microsoft IT Academy Nears 1,400 Certifications
OLYMPIA — April 2, 2012 — A partnership between the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Microsoft Corp. is showing tremendous success in only its first year, State Superintendent Randy Dorn said today.
The OSPI-Microsoft IT Academy, which was launched in September, has produced 1,391 certifications, as of April 1. In addition, a student from Lakewood High School in Arlington received one of the first known certifications in Web-based programming.
“I’m really proud of the students and the teachers for their work,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “The dedication they’ve shown has made the IT Academy a great success so far and will make it a great success in the future.”
The Microsoft IT Academy, which was launched in September, includes training and certification in a number of Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint, as well as advanced topics, including programming, Web development and database development.
Web programming was the reason Aaron Nech, a senior at Lakewood High School in Arlington, participated in the IT Academy. In March, Nech became the first person in Washington state to achieve certification in HTML5, an emerging Web language. “It’s not yet compatible with all browsers but it will be soon,” Nech said.
Nech worked last summer for a Web design company building Web applications. He plans to attend the University of Washington in the fall to study computer science. “I think the certification might help me get into the department,” he said. “It also might help me with scholarships.”
Nech’s teacher was Bob Walker, the business education instructor at Lakewood High School. Walker received IT Academy training in the fall and started working with students in January. He said his goal is 10-20 certifications by the end of the school year.
“What’s great about the Microsoft IT Academy is that it gives my students more variety in what they can study,” he said. “That gives them more incentive to keep studying. The classes are online, which means students can study at their own pace if they want. And the certification is a resume builder. I would hope employers would see that.
“The Microsoft IT Academy shows that the sky’s the limit for highly motivated students.”
The program’s success goes beyond Lakewood High School. The 1,391 certifications have come from 103 schools. Those with the most certifications are:
- Kamiakin High School (Kennewick School District): 262 certifications
- Hazen Senior High School (Renton): 136
- Kennewick High School (Kennewick): 73
- Lindbergh High School (Renton): 67
- Auburn Mountainview High School (Auburn): 65
Washington is the second state in the U.S. to implement the Microsoft IT Academy program statewide. North Carolina piloted high schools in 29 counties during the 2010–11 school year and expanded the program to the entire state in 2011–12.
The state legislature provided $4 million during the 2011–13 biennium — an investment that will provide products and services statewide valued at approximately $30 million.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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