The increased demand for programmers and web developers has some schools adding classes in coding and computer science, even in the younger grades.
In Clark County, Washington, districts are expanding their course offerings, as there are approximately 22,882 open computing jobs in Washington but only 1,212 computer science graduates, according to Code.org.
“I think our greatest interest is in being responsive to providing learning for our kids that will prepare them for their lives beyond high school,” said Layne Manning, Vancouver Public Schools’ director of curriculum and instruction.
Vancouver has a $35,000 grant from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for a pilot program of computer science programs at the middle school level. Next year, they will add Python courses to the high school curriculum, as major websites use that coding language.
In Evergreen, the public schools offer two Advanced Placement high school computer science classes, along with a game design class. Battleground Public Schools is adding a high school level introductory computer science course.
The goal for Vancouver is to build the sequence of computer science classes over multiple years, starting with beginner and progressing to advanced coding.
“We’re committed to more opportunities along those lines, and what we see as student need,” Manning said.