Building the future from the ground up – announcing nominations for Microsoft’s Flagship Schools Program

We’re looking for the next generation of school for an exciting journey. Microsoft Flagship Schools – Are you ready?

  • Are you building a new school/institution for completion in the next 1-3 years?
  • Are you open to the opportunity for change?
  • Are you eager to drive holistic transformation across people, culture and learning environments?
  • Would you like to leverage best practices from schools around the globe?
  • Do you want to create amazing new places to learn that lead the way and showcase what’s possible?

Over the past decade we’ve seen tremendous change in society, in countries across the world. The digital world we live in has fundamentally shifted the way we create, collaborate, communicate and share. The workplace and skills needed to ensure economic prosperity and job growth have changed, while learning overall continues to evolve, challenging the traditional expectations of learning environments. Change may not always be easy, but to truly transform and capitalize on new innovations, we can no longer rely on what we’ve done in the past to accelerate the future.

For K-12, Higher Education, Libraries and Museums, this means thinking differently about these traditional models of learning and the environments in which those experiences take place. We see the future of learning and work coming closer together in exciting ways that make the environments from primary, secondary, college and career feel increasingly like one seamless experience, balanced with a rich appreciation for in-person, collaborative and remote learning.

My personal passion for the early engagement and process of building a new school or institution stems from my early days at Microsoft. It’s a point where we can go deep in the journey with our customers and partner on making experiences we dream of actually come to life. That’s why I am incredibly excited to share a new program from Microsoft, called Microsoft Flagship Schools, and present you with the opportunity to participate.

Microsoft Flagship Schools partners with like-minded leaders from around the world across a multi-year engagement to dream, design, develop, and deliver amazing new places to learn. We want to transform education from the ground up. Aligning to the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework, our hope is that by working alongside a Microsoft Flagship Schools Project Leader from the early stages of planning and design, we can bring together the wealth of our resources, learning from our many years of work with Microsoft Showcase Schools, and technology insights to create amazing learning environments. We are excited to build a community of the best education architects, designers, thought leaders, education partners and a range of other stakeholders on your project teams to make this vision come to life.

While these are long term projects, it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities on the journey. We believe the schools of the future will start with people. They’ll embody growth mindset, have shared ownership with the community and be equally concerned with how environments feel as how they look. These schools will drive toward better learning outcomes and have educators who consistently seek to innovate and transform. They’ll also be thoughtfully constructed, safe, secure and echo the best design principles for learning environments. Most importantly, they’ll represent examples that we want in every school and share the journey with others on how to get there.

We’ve created the 12 Microsoft Flagship School Core Tenets to reflect this thinking. They form a collection of the guiding points of light that we want Microsoft Flagship Schools to stand by as a community:

  • Strong, shared mission and vision
  • Inclusive and accessible
  • Innovative pedagogy, curriculum and assessment
  • Process-driven approach to planning, design and delivery
  • Prioritization of students learning outcomes
  • Sustainable, innovative design and space
  • Secure and safe learning environments
  • Thoughtful end-to-end use of technology
  • Community connected
  • Happy, confident, motivated students
  • Data-driven analytics and decision making
  • Empowered leaders and educators

 

These tenets and much of the foundation of the program are being informed by our work with Microsoft Showcase Schools, who continue to lead and innovate with technology, leadership and pedagogy. As an example, we’ve had a great experience partnering with the Bellevue School District over the past two years to help envision their new school, Wilburton Elementary. With the school getting ready to open for the upcoming school year at the end of August, we can’t wait to showcase the outcome of this journey. You can take a look at the early beginnings of this project here.

 

Connecting and collaborating

 

Upon entering the Microsoft Flagship Schools Program, there will be opportunities for Microsoft and the institution to work together on several activities identified throughout the project. Overall, collaboration with the Microsoft Flagship Schools program will enable:

  • Connection with Microsoft resources focused on working with stakeholders to challenge thinking and share best practices
  • Community connection with other global Microsoft Flagship School projects
  • Guidance on staff development, process, skills-based assessment and more aligned to the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework and Flagship School Tenets
  • Holistic support and facilitated technology discussions as part of overall strategy
  • Opportunities to engage in early product pilots and research projects
  • Marketing and PR support connected to the Microsoft Flagship Schools Program

 

Becoming a Microsoft Flagship School

 

Institutions that wish to become a Microsoft Flagship School will go through a process of assessment to determine fit. We want to ensure Microsoft and the institution/team share equally in a vision for transformation with openness to change and an appetite to push the boundaries of innovation. We’re looking for schools that are at least 12 months from opening their doors – ideally two years – so we can provide support from the early stages of the project. Candidates will be strongly encouraged to contract with a Microsoft Flagship Schools project leader through Microsoft Consulting Services for the duration of the project to help fully realize the opportunity.

To nominate, please send an email to [email protected] and the Flagship Schools team will send you a nomination form to complete and return. Submission of a nomination is required as a first step but does not guarantee acceptance into the Microsoft Flagship School program. We are looking for our initial cohort of nominations by June 30th 2018.*

*Microsoft retains the right, in its sole discretion, to determine eligibility and ultimate fit for the Microsoft Flagship School program.