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St. Francis High School Receives Microsoft Showcase School Distinction

Wednesday, April 26, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Megan Jamen
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On Thursday, April 13, 2017, Denton Green, a Microsoft representative from Oakbrook, Ill., announced to an assembly of faculty and staff, that St. Francis High School has been awarded the distinction of “Microsoft Showcase School” for fully integrating the Microsoft Surface Pro technology and the Office 365 Suite of tools and software into the classroom.


St. Francis High School joins a select number of other Showcase Schools worldwide that Microsoft has recognized as schools “engaged in digital transformation to improve teaching and learning,” as well as those that “create immersive and inclusive experiences that inspire lifelong learning, stimulating development of essential life skills so students are empowered to achieve more (”


“These schools have gone through a ‘whole-school approach’ transition to demonstrate innovative teaching and learning, which are shaping plans for overall educational improvement,” wrote OnMSFT contributing editor and writer Kareem Anderson, who independently reports on Microsoft news.


St. Francis High School and Microsoft began working together four years ago following the school administration’s decision to implement a “one-to-one” Mobile Learning Initiative, putting a computer into the hands of each student and teacher.  Throughout this time, they worked together to promote and execute programs that center on 21st century learning skills, including coding summer camps, The Hour of Code event for junior high students, and an entrepreneurship focused event called StartUp Day.  Additionally, they sponsor technology open houses and Digital Classroom Days, when the school opens its doors to visitors and allows them to see the Surface Pro in action on a typical school day.  “We’ve formed an incredible partnership,” explained Denton Green.  “There are very few Microsoft Showcase Schools in the U.S.  It is the result of St. Francis High School taking the technology and running with it.”


The Surface Pro, which is a two-in-one device, is a tablet computer that functions like a laptop, allowing teachers to emphasize personalized learning for students, while teaching computer literacy skills that will transfer to college and the workplace. 


Sophomore Sabrina Eichenberger said, “The technology has greatly improved the ability to access information easily and quickly.  I love the fact that I can access all my [OneNote] notebooks whenever I want, and I find note taking much easier with the organizing ability the device gives me.”


 “[This] technology has made my students better at organizing ideas and creating products for class,” said World Languages Department Chair, Beth Brand.  “As a teacher, I have the ability to create a lot of my own content for the class to enrich the curriculum and incorporate highly collaborative activities.”  Brand likes that the technology allows her students to connect to the outside world, bringing culture and ideas into the classroom through images, videos, readings and audio, extending beyond the physical walls of the school.


As a Microsoft Showcase School, St. Francis High School will continue to exemplify innovative leadership and professional development among its faculty, as well as produce the highest level of integrated teaching and the technical capacity to promote learning standards across the curriculum.  “We will collaborate with Microsoft teams from across the world and be showcased at international events as an invited speaker/presenter or through the eduCast series,” explained Colleen Kaplan, St. Francis High School’s Technology Integration Specialist.  “We will have access to partner product trials and Microsoft early adoption opportunities and also continue to partner with Microsoft’s Oakbrook location for special events and training.”


The teachers have worked hard and the administration is both proud and amazed at how quickly they have fully integrated the technology into their teaching styles. Tom Bednar, President, said he is excited that this distinction reinforces St. Francis High School’s status as a “best-in-class, college prep school.” 


The Microsoft Showcase School distinction not only means that St. Francis High School has fully integrated technology into the classrooms and curriculum, “it means that we are using technology in the RIGHT way – as a tool to help our students learn.  We are NOT just using technology for the sake of having technology,” concluded Brand.






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