Webster Parish is one of 21 school districts participating as a "pilot" district in the implementation of Microsoft IT Academy in the Business Computer Applications (BCA) classes.
"Microsoft IT Academy is funded through the federally-funded Perkins Grant that we write each year," Secondary Supervisor Morris Busby said. "Students participating in the BCA classes may earn certifications in various levels of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. These certifications enable a student to improve their marketability in the workplace by having them on their resumes and having the skills to perform in the job setting."
Microsoft IT Academy program is currently being implemented in BCA classes in Webster Parish. However, business education courses vary from school to school. Courses offered in the parish include Accounting, Marketing, Computer Media Presentations, Web Design, Computer Architecture, Multimedia Productions, Principles of Business and Computer Networking.
"Many of the Webster Parish 7th/8th grade students are able to take Introduction to Business Computer Applications (IBCA) while in junior high school, earning high school credit," Busby said. "This enables the student desiring to pursue further business education courses to take a wide range of courses at the high school level."
Students of a Microsoft IT Academy receive hands-on experience with the latest Microsoft software and hundreds of web-based E-Learning courses.
"Because Microsoft Certifications are widely recognized by employers, the program can help schools give students an edge in today's competitive job market," said Busby, noting that he and six BCA teachers received training to implement the new project in the four area high schools, North Webster, Minden, Lakeside and Doyline high schools.
Busby feels these teachers will be better able to provide students with 21st century technology skills.
"(This) program is a college- and career-ready education program, which is designed to provide students with skills necessary to acquire certification and be competitive in today's rapidly evolving workplace," Busby said. "Resources available through the IT Academy Program give educators the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest Microsoft technologies and easily integrate these technologies into new or existing curricula. With these resources, educators can tailor classes to meet the needs of students of all ages and levels of experience."
In oder to participate in IT Academy, students must first pass Introduction to Business Computer Applications, which is available at all Webster Parish high schools. Students should speak with their BCA teachers for more information.