OLYMPIA — State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced Wednesday that the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Microsoft Corp. are teaming together to provide many Washington state students and teachers with computer software at a low cost.
Developed by Microsoft, the program will help students gain the technology experience and skills they need to be successful in college or the workforce.
The program consists of two main components. First, the Windows operating system preinstalled on new devices purchased by schools and districts will be discounted. Second, Microsoft will provide services back to OSPI. The services will include professional development for educators, as directed by OSPI and in line with their broader goals of student achievement.
“This is another great example of how working together really benefits our students,” Dorn said. “It’s pretty well established that students with computer access get better grades than those without. So we want to try to get that access for every student.
“Beyond that, an investment in professional development will get our teachers the training they need. In the future, more and more jobs are going to require some computer skills. That means making sure teachers have the most up-to-date information they can.”
“Washington state is a major hub of global businesses, and in our globally competitive economy it’s critical that our students gain the modern skills, such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking, that are necessary for success,” said Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education, Microsoft. “To shape the workforce of tomorrow, we need cutting-edge tools and technologies. This strategic program helps schools get technology in the hands of students and educators to drive real impact and better learning outcomes.”
This global program helps governments attain universal technology access for all their citizens through public-private partnerships. Participating countries include the Philippines, Kuwait, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Portugal. Washington is the first state in the U.S. to implement this initiative.
This is the second major agreement between Microsoft and OSPI. In September 2011, Microsoft launched its IT Academy which provides training and certification in Microsoft Office as well as advanced topics, including programming, Web development and database development at no cost.
October 9, 2013/ Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction News Release