(TNS) -- Alabama is looking for a few good teachers to bring its technology curriculum up to code with the addition of Advanced Placement coding classes.
A + College Ready, the nonprofit partner of the Alabama state Department of Education, announced Monday it has partnered with Code.org to facilitate expanding computer science courses across all grade levels. A highlight of the partnership is the implementation of college-level computer science courses to high schoolers over the next two years.
“Support from Code.org will build upon the groundwork we’ve laid and take Alabama to the next level — bringing computer science courses to about 100 Alabama schools by 2018,” said Mary Boehm, president of A+ College Ready. “Our incredible partnerships with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Dr. Jeff Gray of the University of Alabama helped get the first 50 public school teachers well prepared, confident and excited about leading more students into this field of study. The Code.org partnership will train and support 50 additional teachers.”
Boehm said Monday no teacher from Athens or Limestone County had signed up for the next round of Code.org training. The closest facility participating in the program is James Clemens High School.
It's not too late to sign up, however. Participating educators will become certified to teach the College Board's Advanced Placement computer science principles course. Training is funded by Code.org, Boehm said, and will count as a higher-level math course for AP students.
“It's a serious AP-level course,” Boehm told The News Courier. “There's a lot of big data, algorithms (and) a lot of quantitative math. Only about 20 percent of the course is about coding.”
Teachers trained for the course will dive head-first into the material with a five-day workshop over the summer, followed by 10 days of training throughout the school year. Educators will also have access to weekend study sessions and virtual teaching resources. Boehm said they're not even looking for dedicated computer science teachers, but even career-tech and accounting teachers with a basic knowledge of computers.
Boehm said the addition of the rigorous course is a sign of the state's commitment to bolstering the STEM (or science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields as part its college and career-ready plan. By 2018, there should be at least 100 teachers statewide capable of leading the course.
“It's taking career-tech courses and ramping it up — it takes it to a whole new level,” she said.
©2016 The News Courier (Athens, Ala.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.