Pathfinder Schools

"The need of the hour is to recognize that change is here to stay, and that we owe the children of today and future generations the opportunity to use technology that we ourselves did not have the fortune to use as students."

Sita Umamaheswaran Principal The PSBB Millennium School India

Become a Pathfinder School

Microsoft Innovative Pathfinder Schools help to transform education in a scalable, replicable way by influencing other schools within their own community, country, and around the world. After your school has become an actively participating Partners in Learning School, you may choose to apply to the Pathfinder program.

By becoming a Pathfinder school, you will benefit from deeper engagement, more in-depth access to global experts, and mentoring opportunities from education experts. You’ll also join a community of school leaders from around the world who work closely together to develop a culture of innovation.



Selected schools spend a year in the program. During that time, they gain access to a broad range of resources and support designed to help them reach their goals. These include:

  • An invitation to the Partners in Learning Global Forum (PILGF) Attend Microsoft’s premier global event for educators, where school leaders can network and collaborate with other leaders from around the world.
  • Consultation with world education leaders Get deeper engagement and consultation with the world’s leading education experts.
  • Expert coaching Take part in a mentorship team coached by education experts and Mentor School leaders, who have already achieved a level of change within their education systems.
  • How-to training for educators on Microsoft technology Get detailed training from education experts who are implementing solutions in the classroom today.
  • Collaboration opportunities Collaborate with like-minded school leaders from around the world.


  • A 1-year committment to the program
  • Participation at the Partners in Learning Global Forum The school leader and one other school team member must attend the Partners in Learning Global Forum. This meeting is mandatory.
  • Participate in Mentorship teams meetings Mentor teams are designed to provide guidance and examples of best practice that will assist schools with the continuous improvement cycle.
  • Participate in Virtual University workshops These workshops are hosted by leading education experts and Mentor School leaders relating to topics on innovation and school transformation.
  • Participate in ongoing professional conversations Extensive professional conversations are a core part of the Pathfinder School experience.
  • Utilize the Partners in Learning School Research tool These surveys and reports are a complimentary research tool that helps schools measure how their own innovative teaching practices develop student skills.
  • Provide three case studies profiles These case studies are designed to highlight the great innovations that are occurring in Pathfinder Schools.
  • Organize 2-3 Innovative School events These should be created in collaboration with your local Microsoft Partners In Learning Manager.
  • Participate in in-person leadership workshops lead by education experts These meetings are optional.

Selection criteria

To be selected for the Pathfinder program, schools must have a vision for what they want to achieve. They must demonstrate scalable and repeatable models that can help other schools work toward their own vision for transformation. In addition, they must demonstrate that they have community and professional support for the change process as well as strong school-level leadership.

Applications are evaluated based on the following characteristics:

  • Availability of school leaders to attend the Partners in Learning Worldwide Innovative Education Forum
  • Completeness of all sections of the application
  • Leadership support and commitment at a school and local government level
  • Involvement of community members and leaders in the decision making and planning process
  • Fluency of team members in English

Selection is handled via a rigorous application process that focuses on educational leadership and learning vision as well as the roles of students, educators, curriculum, and technology in the school’s community.

The application period is currently closed. Applications are accepted annually from March through mid-May, with final selections announced in June.

How to apply

Applications for the Pathfinder program must be completed using the Microsoft Educator Network. Prior to starting your online application, we recommend that you download and review the application instructions.

We highly encourage you to prepare your Innovative Schools Pathfinder application answers and collecting supporting documents prior to starting the online application. These steps will help make filling out the application easier and increase the chance that your school is accepted.

Sign in or join the Microsoft Educator Network and create a member profile
Create or associate with an existing school profile
Participate in school discussions. Active community members are most likely to be selected for the Pathfinder program
Download the application instructions and prepare your answers.
Start the Pathfinder application from your school profile. Edit and save your application as a draft, or submit it for consideration.
Darcy Ribeiro public school Brazil Size: 288k
Doukas school Greece Size: 297k

Successful pathfinder applications provide a thorough showcase of innovative thinking at your school. Make yours great by:

  • Providing deep descriptions of your activities
  • Completing all sections of the application with thoughtful, concise and detailed answers
  • Keeping a strong innovation journal and update it regularly
  • Offering a set of supporting resources files