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Wiring New York City School Kids

Pilot program expands high tech curriculum

By Kristen Meriwether
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 25, 2013 Last Updated: February 25, 2013
Related articles: World » Special Section
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Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and AppNexus Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Mike Nolet at announcement to expand Computer Science and Software Engineering classes to 20 schools in New York on Feb. 25, 2013. Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and AppNexus Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Mike Nolet at announcement to expand Computer Science and Software Engineering classes to 20 schools in New York on Feb. 25, 2013. Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—Starting in September, students in 20 New York City schools will participate in a new computer science and software engineering curriculum pilot.

The program is designed to address a lack of computer and technical education—skills the city will need with its growing technology sector.

“It is central to expand New York’s role as the global tech hub. Having access to great talent is one of the most important factors in making that happen,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said from the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn, one of the schools selected, on Monday.

The first year, 1,000 students in grades six through nine will add courses such as computer programming, embedded electronics, web design and programming, e-textiles, robotics, and mobile computing to their core courses. Elective classes will include digital fabrication, 3-D printing, and animation.

Beginning next month, 40 teachers, two from each of the schools selected, will begin training to teach the new courses. As the program expands to 3,500 students by 2016, the Mayor said the city will look to private and philanthropic groups to fund further training.

The new courses will expand on the city’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which has brought 21 career and technical education schools to the city, with a plan to open seven additional ones this fall.

Mike Nolet, co-founder and CEO of AppNexus, a New York City tech company, said his company has struggled to fill engineering spots for the last five years. “As the entire economy has gone digital, every company in the world is looking to hire software engineers,” Nolet said. He hopes this program will start to seed talent locally.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the Department of Education was working to upgrade the computer systems throughout the school district. The DOE will be working with private funders to help speed up the process in particular schools, similar to the partnership of PTECH and IBM two years ago.

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