We’re thrilled to introduce the first post in a recurring series by Anneleen Vaandrager, Senior Director of Worldwide Sales for Microsoft Learning Experiences. Based in The Netherlands, Anneleen champions the advancements of the Microsoft IT Academy program, advocating for IT Academies across the globe in more than 133 countries. Anneleen was a DJ in her past life and is passionate about Indie Rock, New Wave, and eighties music.

Her new column—ITA Triumphs – shares success stories from you—the educators, teachers, staff, and administrators who comprise the heart and soul of the Microsoft IT Academy program.

As a global program, our goal is to highlight success in two ways: educators sharing achievements from the recent school term and others sharing certification objectives for the new year. In this column, Anneleen will share stories that bridge the world of academia and technical training across hemispheres, time zones, and cultures.

Today’s featured success stories from U.S. schools concluding the 2013-14 school year, demonstrate how the academic community is engaging more deeply than ever in ITA as a stepping stone to higher education and the workplace. Students are discovering that earning MOS certification gives them an edge

Here’s a glimpse of the triumphs:

Fayette County High School girls max out ITA certifications, become school’s go-to techies

In May, students Courtney Abrahims and Reagan Beavers from Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, GA, set two records: most Microsoft certifications at their school and youngest women ever to appear on The Dana Barrett Show on WAFS-AM radio in Atlanta. Notably, their school also became the first high school in Georgia to administer Microsoft certification exams on-site.

“Jump in,” the girls advised incoming freshmen. “ITA takes up an elective spot, that’s it. The teachers teach you so well in school that if you get it then, that’s it, you’ve got it.”

After approaching ITA as an elective, the girls went on to take all possible exams, to gain the maximum number of credentials.

“Since we were taking all these tests…anything they were willing to let us take, we were ready to take,” they said.

During the interview, Courtney and Reagan described the process and benefits of Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access. To them, certification meant securing a summer job at a local credit union, standing out on college applications, and assisting teachers with the certification process.

Courtney and Reagan plan to attend college and pursue early childhood development and medicine. They thanked their teachers, Melissa Leonard and Jennifer Metcalfe, for supporting their achievements.

Listen to the show

A+ to Prince Edward County H.S. in Virginia, for 100-percent MOS certification

Prince Edward County High School in Farmville, VA, recently congratulated 43 computer information students who earned at least one MOS certification, with 38 of those students having earned a second MOS certification—great work!

“For 100 percent of my students to earn at least one certification is an amazing feeling and demonstrates that Virginia Career and Technical Education is helping students succeed in whatever their future path may be,” said CTE instructor Jessica Tibbs.

Tibbs said ITA plays a vital role in the classroom, helping with both remediation and enrichment. Her students used Microsoft IT Academy, Certiprep and group OneNote assignments to prepare for the exams.

Armuchee H.S. IT Academy earns 76 Microsoft certifications in debut year

Armuchee High School in Rome, GA, has completed its debut year as an IT Academy with 76 MOS certificates earned by students and their instructors.

A total of 25 Armuchee High students and instructors earned Word 2010 certification, 49 were successful on PowerPoint 2010, and two earned an Excel 2010 certificate. Nine Armuchee students along with one instructor earned industry certification in two areas.

Read the story.

Eight Holsten High School students earn 27 certifications!

Holsten High School (Damascus, VA) students Austin Fleming, Nick Warbuton, Grayson Blackburn (back row);  Casey Hicks, Brandon Barr, Ashley Rector, and Danielle Barlow (front row) earned a combined 27 MOS certifications this school year.

The students are sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled in Computer Information Systems and/or Advanced Computer Information Systems classes, led by Joy Munsey. The earned certifications include MOS Word 2010 (all 8 students), MOS Excel 2010 (7), MOS PowerPoint 2010 (7), MOS Access 2010 (3), and MOS Word Expert 2010 (2). 

Alabama ITA congratulates 30+ MOS-certified students

More than 30 students at Dallas County High School in Plantersville, AL, were recently honored as recipients MOS certification.

Business teacher Dorothy Moore, who leads the school’s IT Academy, said she’s confident that the material that the students learned through the class will fully prepare them for the challenges the post-high school world will bring, such as job interviews.Read the full story reported by the Selma Times Journal.

Anneleen Vaandrager is Senior Director of Worldwide Sales for Microsoft Learning Experiences (Microsoft LeX), overseeing the growth of the Microsoft IT Academy program. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2007, Anneleen was the Vice President and General Manager of Pearson Plc. for Europe, Middle East and Africa where she led Pearson’s computer based testing division for Information Technology, Academic, Government and Professional Testing Programs.

Anneleen has served on the Board of Directors for ACT Inc. and ASTD’s Certification Institute; has served as a member of the Advisory Board of Directors for Digital Alliance; and is a founding member of CEDMA (Computer Education Mngt Association); a founding member of eSCC e-skills Competences Consortium, and a founding member of ATP EMEA (Association of Test Publishers).