The use and building of technology is a major focus as one school district facilitates a major expansion of computer science classes.
Next year, the Broward County school district will dramatically expand its computer science program, adding new curriculum and courses at 38 schools, officials announced Tuesday. The enhancements are part of a new partnership with Code.org, a national nonprofit working to grow computer science education. It’ll be the only such partnership in the state.
Under the four-year agreement, Code.org will train 90 teachers at 16 high schools and 22 middle schools with the ultimate goal of shifting computer science class from a mere elective to a core course.
“When I went to school, every student learned how to dissect a frog or how electricity works,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO of Code.org. “In this day and age, it’s just as important that students have a chance to dissect an app or learn how the Internet works.”
Code.org has earned recognition from various celebrities and President Barack Obama. It’s partnered with more than 10 school districts nationwide.
Some schools will offer computer science for the first time while others will add more in-depth and computational thinking skills into existing courses.
Currently, eight of Broward’s 32 high schools offer such classes, but most middle schools don’t offer any. The teachers, mostly math, science and technology educators, will begin training this spring.
“The thing is to make students realize computer science is used for problem-solving,” and can be applied to the real world, said Lisa Milenkovic, a district curriculum supervisor. “Whatever job you’re in, you’re going to be using technology.”
The district is struggling to upgrade its technology and purchase sufficient digital devices, so school officials said they picked campuses with the necessary infrastructure to roll out the new program.
“We had targeted schools where we made sure we had proper resources and support,” said Superintendent Robert Runcie.
This year, the capital budget allocated $16 million for new computers and technology upgrades.
The partnership with Code.org is one of three major digital initiatives as officials push to keep up with the growing digital demands of college and the workplace.
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