​As members of the Microsoft Partner Network, you understand the value of “community.” In a previous post, I spoke about the importance of not only using Partner Network resources for individual growth but also for the advancement of your peers. In a dynamic, thriving community, when a single member prospers, every member wins.

Recently, I witnessed this “win-win” proposition in action during a visit to Chicago’s Alain Locke Charter School. I visited the school with SWC Technology Partners, an organization dedicated to uplifting the community in which it works. Knowing that SWC donated considerable time and technologies to the school, I expected to be impressed. Instead, I was awestruck. The educators’ conviction, students’ unbridled enthusiasm, and SWC’s commitment were all simply amazing:
  • Conviction. Alain Locke is focused on “closing the achievement gap by energizing urban schools with high-impact leaders.” I observed classrooms with the Alain Locke teaching method in action. The experience plants a seed in students’ minds WP_001435that each of them will one day attend a four-year college or university and helps them realize their full potential.
  • Accomplishment. Student achievement grew at the school for nine consecutive years, and the U.S. Department of Education recognizes Alain Locke as one of seven schools in our country for their role in “Closing the Achievement Gap.” That’s quite a feather in the cap.
  • Commitment. SWC committed approximately $75,000 in service to roll out a Microsoft virtualization solution, which enables the school to use more than 40 older computers that run Microsoft’s latest software and specialized education software. The school is now a Microsoft platform organization, using Microsoft Server, Exchange, Hyper-V, and other stack components to further its educational goals.
The partnership between SWC, Microsoft, and Alain Locke is a natural fit because we all understand that access to an excellent education—and technology that facilitates education—is critical to ensuring the competence of our future community leaders. None of us operates in a vacuum (at least not very successfully), so to serve the needs of an organization or person within your community—professional, civic, or other—is to, in fact, serve your business.
My visit to Alain Locke was an experience that evoked for me intense pride in our partners and a conviction in the power of community. Please consider how you can bring the idea of “community” to life and share those ideas with me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders.
Jenni Flinders
Microsoft Vice President, U.S. Partner Strategy and Programs​