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School Board Approves Computer Science Academy

Published On: Apr 23 2014 04:37:33 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 24 2014 02:49:09 PM CDT

Santa Barbara High School To Have New Academy Begin Next School Year


A new academy at Santa Barbara High School will give students a leg up on a high-tech career.

"We are really excited about what the future holds for our kids," said Principal John Beccio.

Computer science is about to get a lot more common at Santa Barbara High, and the students know the field is growing.

"We need more computer programmers in America, so they need more computer science classes, they should be at all the schools, they should be required. So this is a good first step for that," said sophomore Anna Brewer.

The new academy will get the high schoolers on the right track.

"I think software engineering, programming, learning computer science is sort of a new literacy. It's like reading and writing in a sense that it's so prevalent, that even if it's not something you're going to do for a profession, it's just good to know how these things work," said Paul Muhl, the computer science teacher.

The school district has multiple academies tailored to student interests.

"We have the MAD, which is for digital arts, VADA for art, so this is more for like a different kind of person who wants to do more computer science type of stuff," said junior Kai Zhang.

In current computer classes, female students are the minority. Muhl hopes to increase their participation next year.

"We definitely want our classes to look like the general student population, and so we are for sure already going down the path of targeting especially girls because they are the most underrepresented group in computer science," he said.

The academy starts next school year, and already 150 students are signed up.

"We just wanted to be a high school that offers a comprehensive computer science program. Not just one or two electives but a series of experiences, courses and extracurricular experiences in the computer science field," said Beccio.


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