Industry Leaders Come Together to Celebrate Computer Science for All
Students, parents, school system employees, elected officials, and giants in the field of technology came together March 28, 2017, to celebrate the Computer Science for All initiative in the Douglas County School System (DCSS). The program is the first in the state to offer computer science instruction to all students in grades K-12. Over the next three years, the DCSS computer science task force will work to develop teacher capacity and integrate computer science into existing math and science classes as well as create courses solely focused on foundational and advanced skills.
The celebration took place in the atrium of the Douglas County courthouse and featured speakers from the businesses and agencies that are partnering with the school system on the computer science initiative: Google, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Department of Education, and Code.org.
“I’m thrilled that Douglas County is leading the way with this commitment to prepare their young people for high-paying jobs that will address tomorrow’s challenges and make a difference in the world,” said Jordan Rose, Executive Director of the Georgia BioEd Institute and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Atlanta Science Festival.
“Computer Science now means better jobs tomorrow. For college graduates, there are twice as many openings for STEM-related jobs than there are for non-STEM jobs. Moreover, STEM jobs pay $14,000 more than non-STEM jobs, with opportunities in the fields of healthcare, information technology, engineering, and advanced manufacturing. There are 17,000 tech companies here in Georgia – mobile technologies, cyber security, digital health records, financial tech, and of course, Google’s data center, right here in Douglasville.”
Other speakers included school system employees and elected officials as well as students and teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools who are on the forefront with computer science in their classes and after school clubs. Kennedy Rogers, a current 6th grader at Chapel Hill Middle School, spoke about her 5th grade science fair project titled “Feel the Beat, Save a Life: Learn Hands-Only CPR.” The project involved extensive research and writing 500 lines of code.
“Douglas County will serve as a pioneering example for the rest of the state as we work to bring computer science to all students in Georgia,” said Bryan Cox with the Georgia Department of Education. “We all know that our society is going through a digital transformation and that computer science and computational thinking are driving that transformation, whether it’s super powered cell phones or self-driving cars. Douglas County’s response to that call for STEM and Computer Science education is a bold, inspirational step that we hope all districts will follow.”
Students were on hand demonstrating projects involving computer science, including a prosthetic arm and hand developed on a 3D printer by students in Mr. Matt Nauman’s 5th grade class at Bill Arp Elementary. The arm was built specifically for a teacher at the school who was born without a complete right arm past her elbow. She can now grab, lift, and even throw a ball with both arms.
“We are thrilled to partner with Google, Code.org, Georgia Tech, and the Georgia Department of Education on this exciting initiative,” said DCSS Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz. “With 3D printers, coding teams, and competitions with robots, students at many of our schools are already experiencing hands-on learning in the computer science field, and we are happy to expand this to all students at every grade level.”
“Our program will allow students to become producers – not just consumers – in the digital economy, further advancing our school system’s vision of graduating students who are prepared to succeed in the 21st century,” according to Elaine Wood, Douglas County School System STEM Coordinator.
The complete K-12 curriculum is expected to be finalized by the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
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