St. Francis High School selected as 2020-21 Microsoft Showcase School

Submitted by Krystal LaMantia
Updated 8/28/2020 4:04 PM

St. Francis High School was selected by Microsoft as a 2020-2021 Microsoft Showcase School for their excellence in demonstrated student outcomes resulting from its commitment to educational transformation.

The Wheaton school provides both inspiration and an opportunity for all community members to see and experience the future of digital transformation in education.


As one of only 39 schools in the United States receiving this honor, St. Francis High School joins an exclusive community from around the world, recognized and celebrated for their educational transformation which includes vision and innovation in teaching, learning and assessment, computational and critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, and a willingness to promote a growth mindset among educators and students.

"We are honored to have been chosen a Microsoft Showcase School for the fourth year in a row," said, Jeff Gerdeman, director of IT, St. Francis High School. "As one of only 39 such schools in the United States, we attribute our success to the efforts of all our community -- administration, faculty, students, and parents - who have all invested time and effort into maximizing our use of Microsoft solutions. In addition, our strategic partnership with the Oak Brook Microsoft Store and its fabulous team have allowed us to evangelize our Microsoft-based solution to other schools looking to provide their teachers and students with the tools to best prepare them for college and career."

The Microsoft Showcase Schools Program is an opportunity to engage with Microsoft and like-minded school leaders around the world to deepen and expand education transformation. Over the course of the next year, St. Francis High School will join hundreds of other Microsoft Showcase Schools across the globe to learn and develop best practices, activities, and participate in events while helping empower students and transform education.

St. Francis High School has gone from a desktop, lab-based school to a digitally transformed one-to-one program in just five short years thanks to their Mobile Learning Initiative. The MLI along with Microsoft solutions -- both hardware and software -- is not only preparing their students for college and careers but also engaging them in the classroom.

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"From a hardware standpoint, device does matter -- and there simply is no better device than the Surface Pro," said Gerdeman. "It gives our students a powerful, flexible, transformational device. Meanwhile, from a software standpoint, our MLI allows our students to use OneNote Class Notebooks for the majority of their classes; Adobe Creative Cloud in our digital art classes; Microsoft Visual Studio in our programming classes; Logger Pro and Arduino in our science classes; and many more applications -- none of which they could do in a non-Microsoft solution."

The Microsoft infrastructure allowed St. Francis High School to easily - and successfully - roll out Teams in just three days when forced into remote learning in March of 2020.

St. Francis High School's Microsoft Showcase School designation comes two short months after accepting the Microsoft Showcase School Top Community Influencer Award for the school's work in leading the local community by sharing their usage of Microsoft Education and its impact on student learning. Through a host of Digital Classroom events and Professional Development courses, St. Francis High School has welcomed the opportunity to enlighten others on how they've integrated technology into their classrooms. The school has opened its doors to educators interested in exploring Microsoft's 1:1 technology curriculum to observe the benefits of a digital transformation.

As a Showcase School, St. Francis High School will continue to work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education transformation and communicate an education transformation vision, enabled by technology, through a commitment to host and mentor other schools in the local community and around the globe.

"Microsoft Showcase Schools are shining examples of those applying purpose-driven innovation in a variety of ways to build connection, motivate students and to create community in and out of school," said Anthony Salcito, vice president, Worldwide Education, Microsoft. "These schools are truly transforming learning and providing more personalized education to students, empowering them to achieve more."

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