Carmel Clay Schools, Nextech partner to boost computer science classes
By Chris Bavender
In an effort to create leaders in computer science fields, Carmel Clay Schools is working with Nextech, a nonprofit dedicated to narrowing the gap between computer-related job opportunities and the number of people pursuing those opportunities, to train educators to teach the new AP computer science principles course.
“It is a full-year, entry level course that introduces high school students to the foundations of modern computing,” said Karen Jung, president of Nextech. “It is more than a traditional introduction to programming. The rigorous yet engaging course explores many of the big foundational ideas of computing so that all students understand these concepts are transforming our world.”
Nextech, working with code.org, will provide 72 hours of professional development to teachers over a 15-month period through a combination of in-person and online learning. The training started with a summer institute and includes quarterly workshops and will conclude with a workshop next summer.
“Carmel Clay Schools wanted to provide our teachers with a unique training experience that allowed them to collaborate with other computer science teachers across the nation,” said Courtney Taylor, community relations liaison for CCS. “We received feedback from the teachers who participated in the training, and many said they learned new teaching methods they could successfully implement in their computersScience courses.”
Taylor said the computer science classes are important because they teach students valuable problem-solving techniques, critical thinking skills, creativity, perseverance, and ultimately, real-world applications.
“That will help prepare students for college, career and life-readiness,” Taylor said. “Technology is rapidly evolving, and having computer science courses available to students at CCS creates a solid foundation of knowledge students can utilize in whatever career path they choose.”
There is no cost to Carmel Clay School District for the program. Participating teachers receive a stipend from Nextech for the training. CCS is among 34 Indiana school districts taking part in the professional development course.