Opportunities for middle school students to get a head start on high school are constantly expanding.
For years, these opportunities have existed through classes such as Algebra I, where middle school students take high school level courses and earn high school credit for passing the class and the end of course test.
This past year, the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District also began giving middle school students the opportunity to earn a credential in Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint and Word. This credential is typically offered in high school and is required for high school graduation.
This past semester, 242 middle school students took advantage of this opportunity and now possess this credential. From March through May, these students took Computer Technology Literacy. In addition to allowing them to earn the credential, successful completion of the course also allowed them to earn one high school credit resulting in a double opportunity for these students.
This credential certifies that the student has mastered the essential functionality of Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint and/or Word 2016. Certification candidates must demonstrate the fundamentals to create and manage presentations, insert and format shapes and slides, create slide content, apply transitions and animations and manage multiple presentations. These are all basic skills needed into high school, college and the professional workplace.
Our Microsoft Computer Technology Literacy Teachers devoted serious efforts to credentialing those students who will be attending East St. John High School or West St. John High School next year.
In addition to meeting a high school graduation requirement years in advance, earning a credential in middle school leaves students with one less thing to accomplish once they step foot on their high school campuses. This frees up their time to take more advanced classes in high school, where they can take dual enrollment college classes for credit which can save them both time and tuition money after high school.
The Louisiana Department of Education and Jump Start school districts are currently working with industry to determine what credentials will be recognized by their companies. Regardless, credential holders have mastered basic skills essential to attaining entry-level employment.
The St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District plans to continue to offer middle school students the opportunity to earn a credential before entering high school. Additional credentials and certifications will be discussed with middle school teachers during the district’s summer professional development to hopefully expand the program following the success of the past school year.