MSD OF DECATUR TOWNSHIP LAUNCHES COMPUTER SCIENCE PATHWAY PROGRAM FOR K-12 STUDENTS
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 3, 2017) – The Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Decatur Township today announces its introduction and implementation of its K-12 Computer Science Pathway. Through a partnership with local nonprofit Nextech and a collaboration with Apple, the K-12 Computer Science Pathway will offer students of Decatur township the opportunity to develop a foundation of computer science knowledge and learn new approaches to problem solving, creativity and critical thinking in a world that is increasingly influenced by technology.
“As the first school district in the state to implement this program in grades K-12, I am confident it will be a huge asset to the students of Decatur township,” said Nate Davis, assistant superintendent of schools. “This program will offer opportunities in a variety of career pathways while building a direct pipeline into the workforce for our students.”
Throughout the Decatur township school system more than 200 middle and high school students have enrolled in three different computer science courses covering topics ranging from simple design, coding and strategies to more technical courses including app development, cyber security and database analytics. That number is expected to grow, as Nextech sees an average of a 580 percent increase in students enrolling over a three-year period.
Prior to this school year, nearly 150 Decatur township teachers participated in Nextech’s training on a variety of computer science-related topics and were provided with additional content knowledge, instructional strategies, industry experience and resources to deliver the computer science curriculum to students. In addition, elementary and middle school teachers underwent training to learn how to incorporate computer science into their existing curriculum and lesson plans.
“By educating teachers we can reach a far greater number of students much faster than we could do on our own,” said Karen Jung, president of Nextech. “Our training program serves as more than just a simple educational workshop, and instead offers a year-long professional development program that provides teachers with the content, instructional strategies and real-world context needed to confidently teach computer science.”
Apple will help the township educate 80 additional Decatur teachers on utilizing Swift curriculum, which features a full-year app development course designed by Apple engineers and educators that will go hand-in-hand with the K-12 Computer Science Pathway, teaching students the elements of app design and coding using the Swift programming language. Together the Computer Science Pathway and Swift will help provide students the critical job skills in software development and information technology.
Plans for the K-12 Computer Science Pathway program were also instrumental in MSD of Decatur Township winning a $15,000 Education Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN) grant. The goal of EWIN is to increase the number of individuals in Indiana who complete post-secondary training in a way that aligns with workforce needs and the school district plans to utilize the grant to support the development of the K-12 Computer Science Pathway program in future phases.
For more information on MSD of Decatur Township, visit www.decaturproud.org.
ABOUT THE METROPOLITAN SCHOOL DISTRICT OF DECATUR TOWNSHIP
Student invested and community connected, the Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Decatur Township is a diverse, nationally recognized school district that uses an innovative and personalized, small-learning community approach. The entire district offers multiple learning pathways to its students, encouraging a deeper, more applicable learning environment. For more information, visit www.decaturproud.org.
Launched in 2015, Nextech, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, connects educators, nonprofits and entrepreneurs to deliver best-in-class K-12 computer science education and work-based learning programs to inspire and enable students from all backgrounds to pursue careers in technology. Nextech is a supporting organization of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. For more information, visit www.nextech.org.