NCHS creates new opportunities in Computer Science

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Eileen Flynn, Reporter
@eileen_courant

Due to the nation’s rapid rapidly advancing technology, United States officials predict that over the next ten years jobs in the Information Technology will grow by twenty two percent. Recently, NCHS started preparing it’s students for new job opportunities. Through new NCHS programs, students learn necessary Computer Science skills, that are growing in importance in our everyday lives.

Senior Ian McPeake is a student in the new AP Computer Science class and an active coder outside of school. “I think that knowing basic programming and how computers work is really important,” Ian said. “So many people have computers today, so just being literate in coding and computer science is really important.”

AP Computer Science Principles teacher Rachel Martinich strongly encourages the teaching of some form of computer science to students in every grade. Ms. Martinich believes that coding should be taught just as much as English and science, due to the fact that our nation is falling behind in computer programming.

The nation’s lack of interest in computer science is an extremely pressing issue. “They say that sometime in the next 10 years there will be over a million jobs that aren’t able to be filled because there aren’t enough people majoring in it,” Ms. Martinich said. “So it’s a huge need for our country.”  Ms. Martinich believes that students here at NCHS are lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to explore different forms of computer science, and encourages students to take advantage of this.

Chair of the Career and Technical Education Department, Mr. Zambarano, recognized the growing demand for people in computer science five years ago. Mr. Zambarano has been working with the rest of the faculty to try to develop the most effective and diverse curriculums to offer at NCHS. When meeting with other teachers, they were introduced to the AP Computer Science Principles class that was developed by Ms. Martinich.

Ms. Martinich worked to develop the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum over the course of two years, and was named one of the top 100 computer science teachers in the country by the National Science Foundation. “It just so happened that she was trained in the AP Computer Science Curriculum, but she was very comfortable- she grades the AP exam- so it just really fit that she should take over that curriculum.” Mr. Zambarano said.

The curriculum of the class develops computational thinking for the students, and introduces them to computational tools. Ms. Martinich hopes that all students try the class regardless of their past experience levels. “I think the fact that it’s an AP class can intimidate some people but it is really not an intimidating class, it’s meant to be approachable for anyone,” Ms. Martinich said. “It does not matter how much you know about computer science anybody can take this class, so I’m hoping that next year we have even more kids sign up for it.”

Alternative to only the AP Computer Science Principles class, NCHS also offers a course in Web Design and Robotics which are also in the computer science field. Additionally, Seniors Hazel Montano and Kavya Dagli have started “Girls Who Code” club to get girls at NCHS involved in coding.

Eventually, Mr. Zambarano hopes to be able to create a four-year program that students will be able to take starting freshman year, so that by the end of High School, students can be well prepared to take on the growing world of computer science. “Technology is a part of our lives now- it’s not going to go away,” said Hazel, “I feel like everyone should know how to code because it gives you access to the world because you can do so much with coding, and you can really people’s lives.”

 

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