School District of Philadelphia and Microsoft Open School of the Future

Posted by bink on September 7 2006, 11:46 PM. Posted in Academia.

Through public-private partnership, model for future schools incorporates new technology, curriculum and building design on a traditional school budget.

At 8 a.m. today the bell will ring to open one of the most advanced high schools ever conceived. The School of the Future is the result of a unique collaboration between the School District of Philadelphia, Microsoft Corp. and the community of West Philadelphia that will deliver a new approach to curriculum and school design and the infusion of technology into the daily lives of educators and learners. The school is a state-of-the-art working example of this public-private partnership, featuring a progressive and research-based curriculum, integrated technology, and environmentally advanced architecture. What’s more, the entire project was completed within the strict confines of a standard urban public-school budget.

“What we have proven through this project is that the ‘School of the Future’ is not too futuristic or out of reach,” said Paul Vallas, CEO of the School District of Philadelphia. “This is how schools of today can and should be designed and developed to adequately prepare students for life and work. I hope the school leaders who come and see what we’ve accomplished here in Philadelphia walk away saying, ‘We can do that, too, and we can start now.’”

For the 170 freshman students who will make up the first School of the Future graduating class of 2010, today’s opening signifies new hope and opportunity through an experience that will involve the whole community in the educational environment and encourage college attendance. The opening class selection was based on an open lottery and pulls from area neighborhoods, making this a truly local school. The class has a nearly 99 percent minority population, and approximately 85 percent of the students come from low income families.

“Today it is more important than ever for companies — especially those in the technology industry — to help global educators meet future economic and social needs. Information technology will enable our schools to meet the challenges of the 21st century by creating more personalized learning experiences,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “The School of the Future shows how public and private partnerships can yield new thinking and sustainable change in educational systems around the world.”

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