Howard Bishop students earn tech certifications

In this Jan. 21, 2014 file photo, teacher Lewis Rhodes answers a student's question during an information technology class at Howard Bishop Middle School.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:09 p.m.

Howard Bishop Middle School’s new information technology magnet capped a successful first year, with students earning almost 350 industry certifications through the program.

Workforce development company The Whetstone Group established IT programs in 25 Florida middle schools this year through a grant from CareerSource Florida. Locally, companies like Grooveshark, InfoTech and GRU supported Howard Bishop’s program.

The 213 students in the program this year worked toward industry certifications in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash and Dreamweaver.

Every eighth-grader in the program and about two-thirds of the sixth- and seventh-graders earned at least one certification. In total, the 213 students earned 343 certifications, which are recognized in workplaces worldwide.

“I think we did an outstanding job for the first year,” IT teacher Lewis Rhodes said. “We feel fantastic. It’s really a privilege to have been a part of the process.”

Rhodes said job opportunities are plentiful for people with these certifications right now, but Howard Bishop students are a few years shy of being able to use them.

“Definitely, as the kids get closer to working age, they have the opportunity to enter the workforce in a part-time capacity,” he said.

For next year, Rhodes said the school is looking into mini-internships where students can visit IT job sites and see what kinds of positions are available.

Piquing students’ interests early will give them a leg up if they decide to go into IT programs in high school, he said.

Howard Bishop has an agreement with Santa Fe College, under which students who have earned the Microsoft Office Specialist certification can earn three college credits for the Microsoft Office Applications course.

Twenty-three Howard Bishop students have earned the credits so far.

Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or

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