In West Philadelphia, Microsoft is participating in a promising new program aimed at upgraing the quality of America's high schools. Microsoft has designed a new school which contains many new features unseen to most high schools, including using laptops instead of books(also removing the need for a large library), smartboards instead of blackboards, a 9:15am to 4:19pm schedule, and even a restaurant style food court. Bill Gates and Microsoft are hoping to change the current state of the US' school system, which Mr. Gates feels is "Obsolete", and could hurt America's competitiveness.
The company didn't pay the $63 million cost -- that was borne by the Philadelphia School District -- but shared its personnel and management skills. About 170 teens, nearly all black and mainly low-income, were chosen by lottery to make up the freshman class. The school eventually plans to enroll up to 750 students.
Sabria Johnson, a 14-year-old from West Philadelphia, said she is excited to be attending the school.
"We're getting a chance to do something new," said the freshman, who hopes one day to go to Harvard or to the London College of Fashion. "We don't get a lot of opportunities like the suburban kids."