Students leaving local junior high school with Microsoft Office Specialist certification

Students leaving junior high with Microsoft Office Specialist certification

WEST VALLEY, Wash.-- Reilly Twomey is a 7th grader at West Valley Junior High School. He wants to be a computer coder when he grows up, so he's glad he's been able to become Microsoft certified at such a young age.

“Later on, it'll give me a college career, and it'll open up more job opportunities in computer coding, typing, or any of those sorts of things,” said Twomey.

7th graders here are required to take a semester of Computer Essentials. They learn advanced skills in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. And when they're ready, they take an exam.

Teacher Devina Khan says earning the certification of Microsoft Office Specialist makes students more marketable in the real world.

“By going through this course, the kids are learning very important skills that employers now require, employers all across the world, pretty much. These are 21st century skills. These are skills that are sort of sought after, so they look really good on their resume," said Khan.

The district says Khan and her teaching partner Eric Curnutt are doing something right. Kids this school year have the highest pass rate in the state of Washington, with 58 percent of them passing their certifications. They're the only school in Yakima to make it in the top five.

“I think it’s awesome. I love that we've got so many students that are doing so well, and that passing percentage - that's awesome. I did not realize we were as good as we were until we were shown the numbers, and I was like, ‘Yeah, ok, we're pretty much blowing everybody out of the water,'” said Curnutt.

Khan says this is a rare opportunity for kids in Yakima and it puts them ahead.

“There’s not many schools who recognize this or have this program. I think it's a great resource for the students,” said Khan.

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