Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Schools Program
U.S. Pathfinder Schools
The Innovative Schools program, part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning program, aims to help
school leaders transform their school communities into environments that foster innovative teaching
practices and 21st-century learning. Through the program, school leaders become part of a global
learning community and get access to expert advice and mentoring. Participating schools benefit from
the mentorship of other educators, school leaders and technical experts, and they get the resources
they need to fully implement innovative teaching approaches in their schools.
The program is built on findings from 12 pioneering Innovative Schools, including the School of the
Future in Philadelphia, that have successfully moved beyond the limits of the classroom and
traditional learning models. With Mentor Schools, Pathfinder Schools and Participant Schools, there
are now more than 2,500 schools in the program worldwide.
For the 2010–2011 school year, Microsoft Corp. welcomed a new class of Pathfinder and Mentor
Schools from around the world to participate in the Innovative Schools program. The schools were
chosen after a rigorous application process and join a global community of 80 other Pathfinder and
Mentor Schools in 46 countries. The Mentor Schools will share their best practices with Pathfinder
Schools over the next 12 months and help them develop a vision and implement a plan in their home
communities to transform the way their schools operate. To be selected as a Pathfinder or Mentor,
each school has proven strong school leadership and demonstrated a record of innovation and
successful change implementation.
The Innovative School program is part of Microsoft Partners in Learning, a program that helps
teachers and school leaders connect, collaborate, create and share so students can realize their
greatest potential. The online Partners in Learning Network is one of the world’s largest global
professional networks for educators, connecting millions of teachers and school leaders around the
world in a community of professional development.
New This Month: Four Innovative Schools Announced in the United States
This year, for the first time, U.S. schools and districts are being welcomed into the program. Partners
in Learning is welcoming four U.S. schools and districts into the 2010–2011 Innovative Schools
program. The U.S. schools and districts joining the 2010–2011 class are the following:
Lake Washington School District, Redmond, Wash.
Lake Washington School District is a high-achieving public school district in the suburban cities of
Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish, Wash. It is the sixth-largest district in the state of
Washington, with more than 24,000 students in 50 schools. Lake Washington’s vision of “Every
Student Future Ready” reflects the strong technology orientation of its community, which values
education. By participating in the Innovative Schools program, Lake Washington School District is
aiming to acquire access to some of the most innovative educators from around the world,
resulting in new experiences for students that will help them prepare to compete with anyone in
this global workplace while gaining access to Microsoft’s expertise in education and technology.
Jane Long Middle School, Houston, in partnership with Citizen Schools
Jane Long Middle School was chosen as a Pathfinder School because of its innovative
partnership to expand learning time with Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that runs
programs in Houston and Austin, Texas, as well as 17 other U.S. cities. The school partners with
Citizen Schools to lengthen each school day for all sixth graders by nearly three hours, adding
extra time for academic support and hands-on, project-based learning, including 10-week
“apprenticeships” with local professionals.
School of the Future, Philadelphia
The School of the Future is a unique partnership between the School District of Philadelphia
and Microsoft, established in 2003 to create a sustainable and replicable model for improved
instruction and systemic reform through the use of organizational best practices and
innovations in curriculum, architecture, environmental and technology design. Integration of
technology into every area of the learning community, including curriculum delivery,
community collaboration, office support, content creation and sharing of content is also a key
element of learning at the school. The innovative work at the School of the Future inspired
Microsoft to launch its Worldwide Innovative Schools program, which helps governments and
communities around the world build schools that meet the challenges of 21st-century learning.
Denver Public Schools, Denver
As part of a broad-reaching partnership with Microsoft, Denver Public Schools will participate
in the Innovative Schools program, with the goals of learning from Mentor Schools,
collaborating with the global education community, and working with Microsoft staff to
improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning. The district’s new High
Tech Early College (HTEC) will serve as a testing ground for innovative teaching practices, with
the hope that learnings from this school will be rolled out to other schools within the district to
help improve high school graduation rates, increase the number of students involved in
advanced classes and grow college enrollment. HTEC is centered on a process of applied
rigorous learning and intense connections with industry professionals in the fields of business,
information technology and design. The school will provide opportunities to earn dual credit
through concurrent enrollment and offer opportunities to stay in the program for a fifth year
of high school leading to an associate of applied science or associate of applied business
For more information, press only:
Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, (503) 443-7070,
How Can My School Join the Innovative Schools Program?
For those schools that want to engage at a deeper level in the Partners in Learning Innovative Schools
program, there are three levels of participation:
1. Worldwide Innovative Schools Global Community
2. Innovative Schools Pathfinder Program
3. Innovative Schools Mentor Schools
Any school in the world can join the Participant Program by signing up for the Partners in Learning
Network at http://www.microsoft.com/education/pil/partnersInLearning.aspx.
How Can My School Become a Pathfinder School?
Through the Pathfinder application process, Microsoft selects a maximum of 60 schools each year to
be part of the Pathfinder level of the program. Over the course of the year, Pathfinder schools around
the world will work together to develop a culture of innovation within their learning communities.
These schools must demonstrate scalable and replicable models that can influence other schools
within their own countries, regionally and globally. The 2011 application process will be open to
register in mid-February.
Other Microsoft Online Education Resources
U.S. Partners in Learning: http://www.microsoft.com/USPIL
Microsoft in Education: http://www.microsoft.com/education/default.mspx
Innovative Schools 6i Process: http://www.microsoft.com/education/pil/ISc_6iDevProcess.aspx
Education Competency Wheel: http://www.microsoft.com/education/competencies/default.mspx
Innovative Schools Program Statistics for 2010–2011
New Pathfinder Schools: 54
New Mentor Schools: 16
Total number of Mentor Schools: 26
Total number of schools overall: 80
Pathfinder Schools that became Mentor Schools: 10
Number of countries in Pathfinder and Mentor Schools Program: 46
Number of new countries in Pathfinder and Mentor Schools Program: 26