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UCPS students, teachers earn 3,293 Microsoft certifications

Students at Porter Ridge High School work in the computer lab at school.

Nearly three years after the launch of the nation’s first statewide Microsoft IT Academy, North Carolina students and teachers have earned more than 100,000 professional certifications through the innovative program.

Of that number, Union County Public Schools teachers and students have earned a total of 3,293 certifications through the academy. There were 65 in 2011; 1,681 in 2012; 1,398 in 2013; and 149 earned so far for 2014.

North Carolina Public Schools was the first state education agency in the country to enter into an agreement with Microsoft to pilot the Microsoft IT Academy (MSITA), which provides high school students with real-world technology skills they need to be successful in college and career.

MSITA provides students, teachers, and faculty and staff an opportunity to improve skills and earn industry certifications. North Carolina has paved the way for over ten new states that have come on board since North Carolina deployed the program in 2010.

Students, educators, and support staff are all eligible to earn Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications through the IT Academy program.

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) and Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) are available through business, finance, and IT education courses to students.

Teachers also have the option of earning the Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certifications through the program. Certification licenses are offered by (Microsoft's partner) Certiport.

Students involved in the IT Academy have access to a multitude of resources including Microsoft Digital Literacy for those new to computing, Microsoft's e-Learning Curriculum with more than 200 multimedia courses, Career Forward, SkyDrive, Office 365, and other valuable Microsoft resources not available to the general public. Students can access many of those programs wherever they have a computer.

The IT Academy consists of a software and curriculum package that provides schools with the most up-to-date technology and curriculum resources to teach on the latest technology.

Curriculum includes Microsoft Official Academic Course (MOAC) eBooks (digital textbooks), e-Learning courses - web-based modules and instruction, which allow students to learn things like Microsoft computer programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, all at their own pace. Test banks, projects and exam review kit are also available to provide teachers with resources to prepare their students for certification.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe
Posted: Dec 11, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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