PORTAGE | Portage Township Schools will expand its technical offerings at both the high school and middle school levels next year.
Assistant Superintendent Tom Taylor said this week that the district will apply to be part of the Microsoft IT Academy aimed at increasing opportunities for high school students. The district will also expand its pre-engineering program, Project Lead the Way, into both middle schools.
Taylor said the high school currently offers advance computer applications. They will take it a step further in June by subscribing to the Microsoft program. Two teachers will be trained this summer.
By being a part of the Microsoft IT Academy, students, likely juniors and seniors, will be able to use the company's online curriculum to study and eventually be certified in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access and Outlook. Students will be able to test in each area. If they successfully complete tests in all five areas they can become certified Microsoft Office specialists.
That, said Taylor, will give them a leg up in getting a job after high school. It will also be offered as a dual credit program with Ivy Tech Community College.
Taylor said they are also looking to expand the program at some point, to possibly include the Microsoft IT Academy's programs in information technology or another program.
Taylor said the district will draw from local industry to determine which direction the program should be taken.
In addition, starting in the fall, seventh and eighth grade students at both middle schools will be able to take pre-engineering classes for one semester each year.
It is an expansion of the district's Project Lead the Way program and also provides dual credits with Ivy Tech.
By expanding the pre-engineering program, said Taylor, it will give a boost to the district's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum for grades six through 12.