Big news for whole-school transformation: Announcing our 2016 education change-makers

Here at Microsoft, it's our mission to empower everyone to do more, and nowhere is that mission more critical than in our schools. It's important work with significant impact, and we couldn't do it alone.

Today, we're thrilled to honor the teachers, school leaders and students who are transforming education — in ways both big and small — through our Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Showcase Schools, and Student Ambassador programs. These dedicated individuals not only innovate in their own schools and classrooms, they lead by example, bringing their peers from around the globe on the same life-changing journey of transformation.

The 2016 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts

Created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology for better learning and student outcomes, the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert program helps Microsoft to lead innovation in education.

These accomplished educators advocate for the effective use of technology in education with peers and policy makers. They also provide us with valuable insights on new educational products, helping to ensure that we continue to give teachers and learners the tools they need. And perhaps most important, they share best practices and work together to promote innovation in teaching and learning.

This year, nearly 2,800 new MIE Experts are joining last year's class of 1,000, giving us nearly 4,000 MIE Experts in over 100 countries. Along with our MIE Fellows and MIE Trainers, we now have over 5,600 educators in our robust Microsoft Innovative Educator community. They're an unstoppable force, and we can't wait to see what they accomplish in the months ahead.

Showcase Schools for 2016

We all know that school leadership matters — when school leaders understand the possibilities of the emerging digital education landscape, amazing things happen.

Microsoft Showcase Schools are influencers within their communities and countries, recognizing that effecting change at scale requires a culture of high-involvement innovation and a commitment to collaboration beyond their school.

Over the last couple of years, thousands of educators, government officials and media have visited our global Showcase Schools to see innovative teaching and leading in action.

Every Showcase School in the program has Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators on staff and many have Microsoft Student Ambassadors all working to create high performing dynamic schools which help young people develop the skills they need to contribute purposefully in the workplace and in society.

In 2016, 400 new Showcase Schools will join the 160 schools already participating in this program.

We've also introduced a new Associate Showcase School program, with schools representing all geographic regions, urban and regional settings, funding models and sizes. These schools are working toward the kind of whole school transformation that many Showcase Schools have already achieved, and many partner with nearby Showcase Schools to share best practices.

The 2016 Student Ambassadors

Of course, no school achieves Showcase School status without engaged, innovative and committed students. The Microsoft high school Student Ambassador initiative recognizes the achievements of student leaders from these schools, offering them additional leadership opportunities and skills. Microsoft helps these exceptional students as they drive transformation and support the integration of technology in their classrooms and throughout their schools — with peers, educators and staff.

These students take part in a global community of student leaders, collaborating and sharing best practices. They also work closely with their schools' MIE Experts and with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, engaging their peers and giving them a much-needed voice.

This year's 279 Microsoft Student Ambassadors serve as a shining example of what a partnership between Microsoft and a school can offer students: a place to develop and a bright future.

A heart-felt thank you

Shifting the education landscape to ensure today's students can thrive – no matter what their next steps – is a daunting task. It takes time, energy and vision. Microsoft's growing community of Showcase Schools, MIE Experts and Student Ambassadors are taking the lead in this transformation, and we're beyond grateful to have them on our team.

To learn more about these innovative programs, including how you, your school and your students can participate, be sure to check out these resources:

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