PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 4, 2003 — Seven hundred students in the School District of Philadelphia will enter an innovative and groundbreaking learning environment when the doors of a $46 million, jointly developed demonstration school open in 2006. With this announcement today, the School District of Philadelphia and Microsoft Corp. intend to work together on the planning, design, development, construction and completion of a new high school that will embed technology from the ground up into the school's educational and operational structure. The estimated $46 million in project costs will be funded by the district's capital program.
"To ensure that our children are receiving the best education possible, we must continually ask ourselves how we can do this better," said James E. Nevels School District of Philadelphia School Reform Chair. "By working with an innovator such as Microsoft and bringing in its expertise to manage this project, we intend to make real our shared vision for the school of the future."
The vision for the school expands beyond the classroom to deliver a holistic view of what the learning environment can be. Students will encounter a curriculum optimized to facilitate any time, anywhere learning and systems that will help teachers better establish the pace of instruction and evaluate student progress. Similarly, technology will be embedded to streamline administrative functions, such as attendance, ordering lunches and school supplies, teacher training, and tracking student progress. These functions will be part of a comprehensive development plan that will make use of Microsoft® technologies in relation to the needs outlined by the school district. The plan will include the design and implementation of new administrative systems and optimization of current ones.
"The foresight of the School District of Philadelphia will provide value for not only those who experience the end result, but ideally for all students and educators," said Sherri Bealkowski, general manager of the Education Solutions Group at Microsoft. "Successful innovation bears fruit in replication, and Microsoft is committed to doing its part in improving the student experience for today and tomorrow."
To meet the targeted opening of September 2006, Microsoft and the School District of Philadelphia will jointly establish and staff a project planning committee, and Microsoft will fund a full-time Microsoft Technology Architect. The committee will address the infusion of technology into the building, classroom design, curriculum, professional development and school administration
"We are excited to have the support and cooperation of Microsoft in this endeavor," said Philadelphia School District CEO Paul G. Vallas. "The challenges facing education can only be met through a community effort from the public and private sector."
Financed as part of this summer's five-year capital plan with bond sales totaling $697 million, the jointly developed project school is part of the district's larger renovation plan. The first two years of the district's capital plan call for building five new high schools, phasing out middle schools, expanding elementary schools to accommodate between 700 and 900 students in a K8 grade structure, and constructing five new elementary schools along with a number of "little schoolhouses."
About the School District of Philadelphia
The School District of Philadelphia is the nation's seventh largest, with approximately 200,000 students in grades K through 8 in 263 schools. The School of the Future is one of 10 new, public high schools that the District plans to build. This school exemplifies the goals of the District's Secondary Education Movement: its sweeping education reform plan for the city's public high schools announced in February 2003. The plan calls for more choices in smaller high schools, academic support programs for struggling students and exemplary programs in every neighborhood secondary school.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .