St. Francis High School named Microsoft Showcase School for 5th straight year

  • Students and teachers at St. Francis School in Wheaton use Microsoft Surface Pros in science class.

    Students and teachers at St. Francis School in Wheaton use Microsoft Surface Pros in science class. Courtesy of St. Francis High School

Updated 11/10/2021 1:11 PM

Microsoft has named St. Francis High School in Wheaton as a Microsoft Showcase School, one of only 39 schools nationwide with this distinction and one of two in Illinois.

"Microsoft sets the bar for its Showcase School Award higher each year," said Jeff Gerdeman, director of technology for St. Francis. "But we've been able to meet and exceed their goals, earning this distinction every year since 2017."


According to Microsoft, "Showcase Schools (are) an elite group of schools that exemplify the best of teaching and learning in the world today. Microsoft Showcase Schools are pioneers in education. (Winners) are part of an exclusive global community, recognized and celebrated for educational transformation that includes vision and innovation in teaching, learning, and preparing students for the future."

St. Francis provides each student with a Microsoft Surface Pro, which is integrated into every aspect of the educational day. Students collaborate, participate in class and read e-texts on the Surface Pro, then take them home each day for homework, said Gerdeman.

"Our students come from more than 100 area grade schools, so we require our freshmen to take a Digital Literacy class that ensures they are able to immediately take advantage of the technology they have at their fingertips," said Gerdeman. "This helps our students obtain future-ready skills, for education, employment and entrepreneurship down the road."

In addition, St. Francis faculty have extensive training to implement technology effectively in the classroom, with 89% of St. Francis High School teachers earning Microsoft Innovative Education certification. In addition, eight teachers have earned Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts awards, recognizing their ability to integrate technology to advance learning.

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As a Showcase School, St. Francis High School also 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.

St. Francis High School is a Catholic, college preparatory high school offering students 123 full-year and semester-long courses, including 19 honors and 17 AP courses. For the graduating class of 2021, 100 percent of students attend college and they collectively earned $25 million in scholarships. The class also included one student with a perfect score on the ACT, five National Merit Commended students, and 37 Illinois State Scholars.

"St. Francis High School meets incoming freshmen right where they are -- academically and personally -- and then we raise them up," said Raeann Huhn, principal. "Schedules reflect each students' academic strengths. Their high school journey and experiences help them to meet their potential. The faculty and staff continue to challenge, support, and raise students to the next level each and every day."

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