NEWS RELEASES 2010-11 :: APRIL 19, 2011


North Carolina students and teachers can now add more than 2,700 professional technology certifications to their resumes thanks to the Microsoft IT Academy and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). This online technology education program is currently being field tested in high schools in 72 counties and will be implemented in high schools statewide starting in the 2011-12 school year.

"Thanks to the NCDPI's partnership with Microsoft, school districts are saving up to $5 million a year in software, professional development and other costs, teachers are improving their technology knowledge and students are building the 21st century skills that will make them more marketable to future employers," said State Superintendent June Atkinson.

In November 2010, State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison and Atkinson announced the new collaboration between the NCDPI and Microsoft that enabled North Carolina to become the first state in the country to offer the Microsoft IT Academy in high schools statewide. High schools in 29 counties piloted the Microsoft IT Academy during the fall semester of 2010-11 before the program was extended to 72 counties for the spring semester. By the fall of 2011, the NCDPI will recommend that all high schools use the Microsoft IT Academy curriculum in teaching their students Computer Applications I, a course currently included in the state's Career and Technical Education Standard Course of Study.

The Microsoft IT Academy consists of web-based modules and instruction, which enable students to learn Microsoft computer programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Because the Academy is computer-based, students complete the programs at their own pace in the classroom and at home. Students earn certification as a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) or a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) by completing the Microsoft IT Academy coursework and passing certification exams. Teachers also are able to obtain professional development and earn industry credentials through the program.

Harrison met with Microsoft President of North America Sales and Marketing Robert Youngjohns today to talk about the state's success with the program and plans for the future. North Carolina's Microsoft IT Academy is now the largest Microsoft IT Academy in the world.

"The Microsoft IT Academy is a perfect example of how our state is leading the way in preparing high school students for college and a career," said Harrison. "The real-world technology skills students gain through this program will help them with challenging college and university coursework. High school graduates with these industry-recognized professional certifications will be better prepared to compete for a job and to succeed in the workplace."

Students enrolled in the Microsoft IT Academy also have access to Microsoft's E-Reference Library of more than 500 Microsoft Press books, the Microsoft Digital Literacy program, Microsoft's E-Learning Curriculum with more than 200 multimedia courses, and the Live@EDU program that offers free online Microsoft Office web applications.

For more information about North Carolina's Microsoft Academy, please visit or email .

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.