Computer Science Principles Class Set to Launch in Ohio School

The school is responding to student needs by starting the new course.

by Amanda Tonoli, Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio / July 26, 2017 0
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(TNS) — YOUNGSTOWN — Ursuline High School added a new class to its Advanced Placement Program for the 2017-18 school year.

The new course, computer science principles, will allow students to learn several facets of what Principal Matthew Sammartino calls "the new literacy."

"Teaching computer science is as important to teach as reading is now," he said. "Kids are interested in it. They're engaged with technology constantly -- from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed and even in the classroom. It's just their life."

Some of the facets students will learn include principles of computation, creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, cybersecurity concerns and more.

Sammartino said the course goal is to encourage students to get into the computer science field.

"Computer science is the future of almost any profession in some way," he said. "[The new course] is a new focus on STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] courses, which we've always had," he said. "This is an expansion of our STEM offerings."

Computer science principles will add to Ursuline's 11 other in-building Advanced Placement courses available to junior and senior students. There are nine AP courses online.

The courses cover almost every academic area, Sammartino said.

"We're just responding to student needs really," he said.

Since the mid-1990s, Ursuline principals have been adamant about "keeping up with the times" through AP courses, said Carolyn Korenic, alumni and advancement director.

Part of keeping up with the times is implementing challenging and rigorous coursework, much of which can count toward college credits.

"A lot of our top students walk out of here with almost their whole freshman [college] year in terms of credits," Sammartino said. "Here we are just opening up some more opportunities to enable our students to have good careers."

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