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PHILADELPHIA-Microsoft will partner with the Philadelphia School District in the construction and development of a $46-million, 700-student “school of the future.” The district is investigating potential sites, including locations in North and West Philadelphia, and plans to open by September 2006.

The district will fund construction from its capital budget. The Seattle-based software company will fund a project manager to lead a joint Microsoft/school district planning committee to incorporate advanced technology into every aspect of the building’s architecture, classroom design, curriculum and operations.

The latest technologies will support the academic program, including a 100%-online curriculum for grades nine through 12, and operational and administrative functions. Technological systems will, for example, guide teachers in the pace of instruction and the evaluation of student progress. They will also perform a multitude of administrative functions, including tracking attendance, ordering lunches and supplies, recruiting and training teachers, and processing payroll.

The school district will own and manage the school, one of five new high schools it plans to build here within the next five years. Calling Microsoft’s expertise “invaluable,” Paul G. Vallas, CEO of the school district, says, “If we had to go out on the market to secure this level of technical assistance, it would come with a significant price tag. This partnership means a first class consultant working with us from day one. . .”

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