The Governor’s STEM and Technology Academy at Landstown High School had a very special visitor walking the halls. Margo Day, the vice president of US education business, for Microsoft toured through the building and observed four different classes.
Specifically, Day was at the school to observe how staff was integrating Microsoft software as – well as technology in general – in the day’s instruction.
“It is always rewarding when we have the opportunity to collaborate with business partners and industry,” said Lisette Diehl, coordinator of the Governor’s STEM and Technology Academy. “Today’s visit provided our students and staff a chance to have an open dialogue with top executives from Microsoft about what they are teaching and learning.”
Throughout the morning, Day stopped in four classrooms. First, she observed robotics work and had a special message of encouragement for the young women enrolled in the classes.
“I just want to say to the ladies, ‘Rock on!’ Let’s show them what we’ve got,” she said, doling out high-fives and smiling brightly.
Later, as she walked through a drafting class, she again encouraged the young women in the class.
“It’s a delight to see you in here…keep pushing your passion in this area,” Day encouraged, then seeing the young men in the room, clarified her point a little.
“We love guys too, but there’s more of you right now!”
Day finished out the morning visiting two of the school’s Microsoft IT Academy classes, where students work to earn certifications. These certifications demonstrate that students have required skillsets in specific Office programs, which, according to Microsoft, could earn an entry-level business employee as much as $16,000 more in annual salary than uncertified peers.
Students are able to earn these MOS certifications while in high school at no cost to them. A similar course outside of school offering all of the Office certifications and unlimited testing, could cost thousands of dollars.
As she walked by, students were working on various Microsoft Excel assignments.
“It’s a great skill to have throughout your life,” Day said. Adding to another student, “You’re going to love Excel. You’re going to use Excel for the rest of your life.”
Day’s stop at Landstown was short-lived as she headed on to Richmond to meet with the state superintendent; however, Diehl said her time made a lasting impact.
The students were proud to discuss their work and converse about the variety of ways they utilize technology in the classroom,” Diehl said. “It was truly a remarkable experience to watch the students shine and interact with Ms. Day and the Microsoft team.”