NEWS RELEASES 2014-15

NEWS RELEASES 2014-15 :: JUNE 4, 2015

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NC PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS, STAFF EARN
200,000 MICROSOFT CERTIFICATIONS

Nearly five years after the launch of the nation's first statewide Microsoft IT Academy, North Carolina students and teachers have earned more than 200,000 professional certifications through this innovative program. State Superintendent June Atkinson today joined State Board of Education members, teachers, students, legislators and others in celebrating this milestone at the State Board of Education meeting in Raleigh. Eighteen North Carolina high school students who earned top honors in the 2015 NC Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) competition also were recognized.

"Over the past five years, North Carolina's Microsoft IT Academy has saved students and teachers more than $20 million in certification costs and enabled them to build valuable technology skills required by today's employers," said Atkinson. "The Microsoft IT Academy is one example of how Career and Technical Education courses can enrich learning, shape career paths and change students' lives."

The Microsoft IT Academy offers digital access to instructional curriculum and certifications that enable students to learn productivity applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access, as well as the fundamental skills necessary in the studies of Computer Science and IT Infrastructure. Because the Academy includes computer-based instruction in addition to traditional instruction, students may take advantage of a variety of options to complete the programs at their own pace, both in the classroom and at home. Students have the opportunity to earn certifications as a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), MOS Expert or MOS Master, as a Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) and/or a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) by completing the Microsoft IT Academy coursework and passing the appropriate certification exams. Faculty and staff have access to professional development learning plans and also have the opportunity to earn industry credentials through the program.

"We congratulate North Carolina for offering their students the resources that will prepare them for success in college and their careers," said Jamie Harper, general manager, U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp. "North Carolina employers have thousands of jobs available today requiring technology skills. This milestone celebrates another step forward for North Carolina's students and economy."

In addition to celebrating the 200,000 certification milestone, 18 North Carolina high school students were recognized for placing as the top three finishers in six different categories of the 2015 NC Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) competition. The students placing first in each category will go on to compete in Certiport's MOS U.S. National Championship in Orlando, Florida in mid-June. During the U.S. National Championship event, the top finisher in each category will go on to compete in the 2015 MOS World Championship in Dallas, Texas in August.

Following are the 18 high school students who earned top honors in the statewide 2015 NC MOS competition:

Microsoft Office Word 2013
Stephen Downhower, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Julia Sefler, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Uroosa Shah, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)

Microsoft Office Excel 2013
Thor Peterson, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Kathryn Sullivan, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Noelle Ruehle, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)

Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2013
Sarah Wu, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Brian Huitt, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Rose Huang, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Microsoft Office Word 2010
Ryan Catalfu, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Michelle Sun, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Nina Joseph, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)

Microsoft Office Excel 2010
Ali Khan, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Skyler Won, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Justin Patzer, Carrboro High School (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools)

Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2010
Katherine Tomasi, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Griffin College, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)
Sean Cherry, Green Hope High School (Wake County Public School System)

North Carolina students have an impressive track record in these competitions over the past few years as 12 students have been among the winners in national competitions and one student brought home third place in the worldwide competition. 

“The state of North Carolina demonstrated their leadership in career and technical education by adopting technology certification in high schools statewide, and we are thrilled to help celebrate the milestone of 200,000 certifications earned through this program,” said Aaron Osmond, vice president of the global Certiport offering for Pearson VUE.  “Microsoft certification is more than a piece of paper – it gives students tangible proof they have the Microsoft skills employers are seeking.  North Carolina has caught our vision for helping every individual excel and succeed through certification, and we look forward to watching the program continue to grow.”

North Carolina first piloted the Microsoft IT Academy in high schools in 29 counties during the fall semester of 2010-11. Students and teachers earned 8,227 certifications in the first year. In the fall of 2011, the state made history when it became the first in the country to offer the Microsoft IT Academy in all high schools. Since then, the number of certifications has increased every year and is on track to do the same in 2015.

NC MICROSOFT IT ACADEMY CERTIFICATIONS
2011 8,227
2012 40,508
2013 49,863
2014 50,500
2015 (as of 5/29) 55,479
Total 204,577

Today, students who enroll in the NC Microsoft IT Academy have the following CTE course options with an opportunity to earn certifications:

  • Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Excel and Access
  • Network Administration I
  • Computer Programming II
  • E-Commerce I and II
  • Database Programming I

Currently, 49,146 North Carolina students are enrolled in these courses. The state also began piloting the Microsoft Word and PowerPoint course in middle schools in the fall of 2013.
Microsoft IT Academy now has over 15,000 partner institutions worldwide in over 133 countries. For more information, visit www.ncpublicschools.org/msita.


NC Microsoft IT Academy Certifications, 2010-15
(pdf, 261kb)

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.