For the fifth consecutive year, Santa Margarita Catholic High School was named a Microsoft Showcase School. Recognized for successfully integrating tablet PC and cloud technology, Santa Margarita’s technology program delivers a personalized, immersive education preparing students for success in college and beyond as they enter the workforce. SMCHS joins an elite community of approximately 300 schools worldwide recognized for their pioneering efforts and innovation in teaching, learning and assessment. Santa Margarita is the only school in Orange County to receive this designation, one of three schools in the state and one of 39 in the nation.
“We are proud of our partnership with Microsoft and the immersive learning experience we are providing our students,” said Principal Ray Dunne. “At Santa Margarita, we are committed to continuing to provide innovative ways to prepare our students for college and beyond.”
In addition, the school’s technology educators received the Service Leadership Award from Microsoft during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2018 summer conference in Chicago. The award recognized their exemplary work demonstrating the integration of Microsoft’s educational platform to schools and districts throughout Southern California. SMCHS has hosted more than 20 schools and school districts from across Southern California interested in learning more about Santa Margarita’s award-winning educational technology program. School leaders have also helped other schools and districts implement similar programs.
At Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Microsoft Office 365 applications have been successfully integrated into everyday learning. Students can take and file notes in digital notebooks, virtually collaborate with their teachers and classmates through shared workspaces, quickly access e-books and much more all through the use of their tablet.
“Some of my favorite features of using the tablet are Skyping to collaborate with classmates and OneNote’s variety of options for notetaking,” said Santa Margarita senior Michael Regan.
Through OneNote, students’ digital notebooks are easily searchable and shared and can be accessed anywhere through the cloud. Digital ink allows students to take notes by hand, but with the advantages of having them available electronically.
“I have always handwritten my notes in class, but now I but have the benefits of having them on the computer as well,” said senior John Grayson. “I can copy, edit, and send them effortlessly.”
Santa Margarita Catholic High School and Microsoft began working together six years ago prior to fully implementing a one-to-one tablet PC program. During the 2014-15 school year, the school launched the program which put a Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga tablet PC in the hands of every teacher and student. This year, the school transitioned to Dell computers for the incoming freshman class. Among the privileges of being a Microsoft Showcase School, students are exposed to unique opportunities such as a recent two-day Skype-a-Thon hosted by Microsoft where IB Business Management students spent 30 minutes skyping with Microsoft Executive VP of Business Development Peggy Johnson.
“I enjoyed Ms. Johnson’s perspectives about school which emphasized to the students the importance of balancing school work with social/fun time,” said senior Brooke Franks.
Through an extensive application process, Showcase Schools must exemplify leadership in leveraging digital technology, deliver professional development for staff to effectively integrate digital learning, thoughtfully integrate a digital education across the curriculum with a focus on personalized learning, and utilize Microsoft technologies among other criteria. Schools are recognized for creating immersive and inclusive educational experiences that inspire lifelong learning and stimulate the development of essential life skills to empower students.
“We continue to be thrilled about our partnership with Microsoft as one of their top Showcase Schools,” shared SMCHS Director of Educational Technology Scott Bricker. “The past several years have taken us on an amazing journey and we could not have achieved this success without Microsoft’s support. … While maintaining the high expectations and student output the school is known for, we are also creating amazing opportunities for students to strengthen and share their knowledge in ways never before possible. In addition, the feedback we get from schools and districts when they visit our campus in terms of their desire to emulate our program, reinforces that we are headed in the right direction and that we still have room to grow Ed Tech to further increase the effectiveness of our students and teachers. I am excited for what lies ahead.”