Posted by Andrew Ko
Senior Director, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft
Since 2007, Microsoft’s Innovative Schools program has been connecting educators from around the world to share ideas and best practices for creating new learning models, and inspiring students to engage more deeply and direct their own education.
This year, we are excited that four schools in the United States have been selected to participate in the Innovative Schools program as Pathfinder schools. A Pathfinder school is a school that has a vision for or is in the early stages of implementing innovative programs.
The four new Pathfinder schools are:
• Lake Washington School District, Redmond, Wash.
• Jane Long Middle School, Houston, Texas
• School of the Future, Philadelphia
• High Tech Early College and the Denver School District, Denver, Colo.
Joining a global community of 80 other Mentor and Pathfinder schools from 46 countries worldwide, the schools and districts were selected because they serve as regional exemplars for integrating innovative teaching and learning into the whole school environment, and they have the ability to influence other schools within their own community, country and around the world.
The school leaders from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington have demonstrated a strong vision for how they would like to transform learning, and are enthusiastic about collaborating with other educators from around the world. Throughout the year, each of these schools will participate in a global learning community and get access to expert advice.
They will also share experiences and goals with Mentor schools from Australia, Canada and Singapore to create models that any school and any system can use in the future to prepare children for success in the 21st century. Mentor schools are those who have partnered with Microsoft on previous initiatives and have successful models to share with those in the Innovative Schools program. In the photo to the left, Jane Long Middle School students Juan Sixtos (front) and Junior Montoya (back) get help from instructor Evan Davis during Solar Cars class.
There are millions of innovative teachers in the world – but without the support of their schools and school systems, they remain islands of innovation in a sea of mediocrity. This is the critical lesson we’ve learned through Partners in Learning, Microsoft’s 10-year, $500 million global initiative to help teachers and school leaders more effectively use technology as a tool for teaching and learning. School leaders are the key to successful transformative change. One teacher can make great things happen in a classroom, but several teachers with supportive, strong leadership can make an entire school great. And a great school has tremendous implications for an entire community.
We launched the Innovative Schools program based on the notion that innovative teachers can only thrive with system-level support. It is designed to help school leaders become change agents within their school communities by providing the tools and resources they need to successfully envision and implement educational transformation.
The Innovative Schools program inspires school leaders to think big. We are excited to see their ideas come alive and witness the impact they will have on students’ success.
To learn more about the U.S. Innovative Schools, please read the Microsoft Innovative Schools Program Fact Sheet. Find out how your school can participate in the Innovative Schools Community by joining the Partners in Learning Network.
To see what Innovative Schools are doing worldwide, please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/education/pil/ISc_members.aspx