Eighth graders in Union County now have a chance to add a Microsoft Office certification to their résumés.
Lake Butler Middle School has added the program to allow students to get ahead before they enter high school.
“I wanted to take this class because you get high school credit and because I can get my certifications for Word. It will better my job when I get older,” said eighth-grader Dustin Slocumb.
Slocumb said he learned “how to go in behind all the stuff most people know on Word and learn how to use it to its fullest.”
The middle school’s business academy covers keyboarding, Word, PowerPoint and some career and college exploration, said Lindsay Clyatt, the business academy class teacher at Lake Butler Middle School. The class will move on to Excel next.
Students that take the computing for college and careers class at Lake Butler Middle receive a high school credit and also get to skip the first year business class at Union County High School, said Krystal Gunter, a business education teacher at the high school.
The middle school class at Lake Butler Middle School and first year high school class and Union County High School learn the same skills, she said.
In the high school’s business program, students complete the Microsoft certification course where they become certified in Word, Excel and PowerPoint their first year in addition to courses in business and entreprenurship, Gunter said.
In the third year, students can take a business supervision class where they run a school store using QuickBooks, a small business accounting software.
Clyatt said the school wants to start many certification classes in middle school. She thinks the Microsft Office was first because it is of the easier ones to start with.
Students, in both the middle and high school, take the Microsoft Office Specialist test at the end of each section they learn.
Gunter said out of high school students could get any secretarial, receptionist or any position requiring computer skills.
“It’s just a matter of what their interests are,” Gunter said.
Clyatt said, with technology constantly changing, she worries the skills students learn may be outdated once they graduate or even a few years down the road.
“More than teaching them the program, I want to teach them how to navigate software,” she said. “If I can teach them to be smart about it and to think about it then even if the software changes next year they can learn it.”