MICROSOFT IMAGINE ACADEMY

CONTACTS :: Quentin Parker, IT Manager, Exceptional Children and Instructional Services Division
 Linda Lay, Business, Finance, and IT Education Consultant, CTE Division

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

Credentials and Certifications
Students, educators, and support staff are all eligible to earn Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) certifications through the IT Academy program. Over 200,000 MOS and MTA certifications have been earned by students and teachers since the inception of the agreement in 2010 (2010-11 academic year). MTA and 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 exams are offered by (Microsoft's partner) Certiport.

Technology Skills in Career and Technical Education
The Imagine 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), Online Learning courses - web-based modules and instruction, which allow students to learn Microsoft computer programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and much more at their own pace. Test banks, projects and exam review kits are also available to provide teachers with ample resources to prepare their students for certification.

Professional Development
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has implemented a professional development plan for staff members statewide in over 200 Online Learning courses including, but not limited to, Windows 7, SharePoint, Exchange, and Office applications. These courses will further the knowledge of teachers and IT staff throughout the state.

Resources
Imagine Academy member schools have access to the very latest Microsoft tools, including training and resources to help teachers get started with their benefits. Students involved in the Imagine Academy have access to a multitude of resources including Microsoft Digital Literacy for those new to computing, Microsoft's Online Learning Curriculum with more than 200 multimedia courses, SkyDrive, Office 365, and other valuable Microsoft resources not available to the general public. Students can access many of those programs wherever they have internet access.

DreamSpark
Microsoft and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction provide a DreamSpark subscription to all high schools. DreamSpark provides licenses to distribute development and design products across school labs (using lab licenses) and to all students and faculty for installation on personal PCs so that schools can engage and excite students with the latest technology. DreamSpark Premium is available to STEM schools. Details of the DreamSpark program can be found at https://www.dreamspark.com/.