Before they even walk across the platform to receive their high school diplomas, some Wawasee High School students will at least have a chance to earn a certification that can be used in the business world.
Back in the fall, Wawasee was invited by the Indiana Department of Education to participate in the Microsoft IT Academy, a program utilized in other states but being piloted this academic year in Indiana. At no cost to the school, high school students can learn the various Microsoft Office software components of Word, Excel, Power Point and Publisher.
The program is administered at WHS by Elizabeth Long, business teacher, who attended training sessions in November. Microsoft IT Academy is offered in her three digital citizenship classes during the current second trimester and four classes will be offered in the third trimester.
Long noted the program began just before the second trimester started at Wawasee. She spoke highly of the program, saying it will give students a head start when seeking employment in the business world. “They are walking out into the business world certified,” she said, noting they will have skills businesses won’t have to teach them nor will they need to take a special class if they attend college.
Microsoft is being used by many businesses now, she said, and the Microsoft IT Academy can have a wide variety of applications in the business world. “Business affects everything,” Long said. For example, if someone wants to open their own restaurant, they still need to know the business side such as how to pay the bills, marketing and more.
Microsoft provides the curriculum for the academy, much of which is online. Students can take tests in the various aspects of Microsoft to become certified. Long noted one student is working on a Microsoft Technology Associate license. She estimated there are 90 students learning the Microsoft program now in the three classes, though it remains to be seen how many of them will choose to take a test to earn a certification.
Microsoft IT Academy is a partnership in Indiana between IDOE and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Wawasee is one of 89 schools statewide participating in the pilot program.