Superintendent’s Memo #300-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

November 2, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Announcement of Virginia’s Microsoft IT Academy Certification Program

Through funding provided by the General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Education is pleased to announce that the Microsoft Information Technology (IT) Academy Program partnership for 2012-2013  will include site licenses for  unlimited certification testing at each high school and career and technical education (CTE) center at no cost to school divisions.  The certification examinations will be available to students for the Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access OneNote, and SharePoint); and Certiprep, practice exams, for all of the above MOS applications.  Additionally, the Microsoft Technology Associate certification exams will be available to all schools/centers but distributed as needed.

The Microsoft IT Academy program offers many unique 21st century education benefits and fully prepares students to obtain internationally recognized IT industry certifications.  More than 50 percent of today’s jobs require proficiency with related IT skills.  That number will increase to 77 percent within 10 years.  Some of the other benefits schools can look forward to:

The Academy provides access to engaging content that students need to expand their life skills and enhance their employment opportunities.  Most academic and CTE courses use Microsoft software products in their classes and can benefit from the IT Academy resources; however, last year 28 courses were identified as providing in-depth instruction for the Microsoft software programs.  Those courses were correlated to IT Academy resources and are available in the Virginia Educational System Online (VERSO) curriculum frameworks at http://CTEresource.org.  Those courses will now provide the impetus for additional certification testing.

Over the next few weeks during the certification deployment, CTE administrators and high school principals will receive information from the Certiport representative on next steps for obtaining their site licenses and implementing a testing center.  If you have any questions, please contact Anne Rowe, curriculum and instruction coordinator, Office of Career and Technical Education Services, at cte@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at 804-225-3119.

PIW/LBH/sgj