Wow! What a difference a year makes!

| Shelley Stern Grach

In the business world, there is a strategic planning mantra which goes: Storming, Norming, Forming and Performing. It basically means that high performance organizations goes through a process and sometimes there are valleys before you get to the peaks. It also means that it takes leadership and high quality people to really bring an organization to its full potential.

logo (1)As a longtime supporter of the Early College STEM School program, the entire MSFTChicago team is thrilled to see the progress at Lake View High School, from a community engagement, academic, and leadership perspective. Taking a local, neighborhood school to the “top” can be a logistical, budgetary and academic challenge for parents to navigate, when you are surrounded by charter, selective entry and private choices. As evidenced in the Wizard of Oz, Sometimes The Grass Isn’t Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence:

Tin Woodsman: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I – I think that it – it wasn’t enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em – and it’s that – if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?

We would like to congratulate the entire Lake View High School team on your dedication, commitment and for what you do—every day—for the Lake View community. We also would like to share with our readership some “Coming Attractions” at Lake View High School this fall….

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Microsoft and Lake View High School will again be partnering on the STEM Challenge for the Juniors and Seniors. Last year, we launched our first STEM Challenge, which focused on Water as a key resource and the Challenge focused on efficient ways to “guide”, store and reclaim water for Chicago. This year, we will be focusing on the Internet of Things with the students. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the name given to the interconnection of everyday devices with built in sensors and is a major trend impacting all areas of life.  IoT is the way that machines communicate with each other in order to improve automation and efficiency in daily tasks. It allows sensors to be placed on physical objects to connect them to the Internet.  Once there, these objects can identify themselves to other devices, and capture data that people can use to solve problems.

IoT can create impact on a grand scale, transforming everything from buildings to massive, robot-powered factories to rush-hour traffic in major cities. Think about sensors embedded in traffic lights.  It is also smaller IoT solutions that can really capture the imagination—as they scale out to create real, measurable value. Think about sensors embedded in wearables such as health bands.

We will be working with the Lake View HS students and challenging them to:

  • identify a problem in the Lake View  community
  • use IoT technology to build a solution or improve upon existing technology, using tools like sensors and analytics.
  • consider how their IoT solution will be improve the problem the students are  addressing and how to  reach the targeted audience.

The STEM Challenge will kick off December 1st and run through Spring 2016. The winning team will be representing Lake View HS at a statewide event in May 


Last year, we had an absolute blast partnering with Lake View High School, especially with Angela Newton and her awesome team of Computer Science teachers for Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code program. Lake View students helped teach coding to elementary school students from the Lake View feeder schools and we plan to do repeat this program again this year. This brings several elements of the Storming, Norming, Forming and Performing process together at once:

Storming-bringing together a team of students who are committed to working with younger children on computer science skills

Norming-figuring out which “Hours of Code” classes will be fun and age appropriate

Forming-Developing and executing on the plan to teach-Which students (Lake View and feeder schools)? Where do they go? When? What do they teach? Is the equipment set up? Is the internet working? Evaluating how it worked?

Performing-the satisfaction of a great program that was highly successful and repeatable and scalable.

To quote Angela Newton, Assistant Principal at Lake View High School: “Computer Science does not mean you are going to sit in front of a computer taking chips apart all day. It does mean that you will have an amazing awareness of how computers can help you accomplish your dreams! At Lake View High School, we are planning our Hour of Code… Our goal is to help you develop higher order thinking skills, by exploring the field of computers, from a scientific, creative, expressive and real world approach.”

It’s this kind of innovative teaching and collaboration that is bringing Lake View into the Performing category. Please read on for more impressive results and our congratulations to the entire Lake View team!

Read Lake View High School’s spotlight in DNAinfo by clicking here.

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Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.