Congratulations, School of the Future Graduates

Posted by Mary Cullinane
Director of Innovation and
Strategic Initiatives, Microsoft Worldwide Education

With great
fanfare four years ago, teenagers began their high school careers at a
new school called The School of the Future. A partnership between the School District of
and Microsoft, the school was built to help lead the way
toward establishing a new norm in urban education: one where mediocrity
is no longer acceptable, every child can be successful and opportunity
is provided to all, not just those lucky enough to be chosen.

never forget that day and seeing the hope in students’ eyes. You could
sense their apprehension, but also their intense desire to embark on the

This week again I will witness the power of hope and
inspiration as 117 School of the Future students walk across the stage
and become what more than 35 percent of high school freshmen in this
country do not: graduates. They have surpassed their own expectations,
and it wasn’t easy. While more than 3,000 inquisitive visitors from 50
countries walked the hallways to observe the school first hand, students
overcame many challenges: Leadership changes, social and economic
pressures, and simply the challenge of being teenagers. Now they are
graduating, and – pay close attention here – every graduate has been
accepted into a technical school, community college or university.

We’ve done a lot
at the school, including implementing the 6i Process and the Education Competency Wheel, which will have lasting
impacts. I’ve been lucky to have a chance to work with the school and to
gain from it a better understanding of what it means to educate our
youth in urban America. I’m lucky I got to meet an amazing group of
educators who, every day, put the needs of their students first and
foremost. I’m lucky I had the opportunity to see the school inspire in
Microsoft employees a renewed passion for figuring out how we can better
support schools around the world. Most important, I’m lucky to have met
these kids, whom I will never forget, who taught me once again to never
lose faith in the potential of children.

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