Microsoft’s Philly high school traveled rocky road

Yet now, she said, a revamped curriculum, steady leadership and better use of resources and scheduling has yielded the “first full year of uninterrupted education.”

Teacher Aruna Arjunan said part of the school’s strength lies in offering a combination of academic, technical and real-world skills.

Students’ familiarity with Microsoft programs make them employable straight out of high school, she said. They are also evaluated on “competencies” that Seattle-based Microsoft uses with its own employees, such as dealing with ambiguity and thinking on the fly.

“There are kids in this building who would have flunked out of other high schools,” Arjunan said. “I just think the culture here is unlike any other.”

All 118 seniors have been accepted to post-secondary programs, from community colleges to selective schools like Villanova University. Some, like Wearing-Gooden, weren’t even considering college when they were freshmen.

This fall, Wearing-Gooden will be studying climatology on a scholarship at Green Mountain College in Vermont. She said the School of the Future offered individual attention, a supportive atmosphere and a familial dynamic that helped her realize her potential.

The hectic first years also taught Wearing-Gooden a valuable life lesson.

“It showed me that the world is not as stable as we want it to be,” she said. “Now I’m ready for anything.”

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