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Preparing students for future jobs

COMPUTER COHORT SLATED - Fulton Independent School was recently selected by the codingKentucky Department of Education as one of 50 schools or area technology centers to participate in an initiative designed to create a pool of more qualified individuals to fill existing job openings within the state and to stimulate economic growth with a work force possessing high-tech skills.

The initiative is a partnership between KDE, AdvanceKentucky, College Board (Advanced Placement), and Code.org to better prepare students for the computer science jobs which are now and projected in the future to be unfilled, to engage students in coursework that will prepare them for success in the workforce, and to stimulate interest especially in under-represented groups such as females and minorities.

As part of the cohort, Fulton Independent will have the opportunity to have all expenses paid, including teacher stipends, for one teacher each to be a part of the weeklong Kentucky Computer Science Principles (CSP) cohort training and the Kentucky Computer Science Discoveries (CSD) cohort training in Lexington in July.  Those trainings will enable FIS faculty members to teach the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles class, as well as the discovery level classes designed for middle school students.

Additionally, cohort member schools have the opportunity to send individual teachers to one-day Computer Science Fundamentals workshops that are scheduled during the summer.  These are designed to help teachers integrate computer science instruction into the elementary and middle grades.  Further, the district will gain from the ongoing support and networking provided during the implementation of the programs.

Strengthened by the fact that FIS had implemented coding instruction three years ago – at that one of only 30 high schools in the state offering such instruction – and already having students enrolled in their third coding course this year, FIS superintendent Dr. Deanna Miller submitted the grant on behalf of the district. Additionally, all students in grades K-5 receive coding instruction weekly during their electives time through the Code.org website.

“We felt like we had a strong application because we were at the front of the game and actually have students finishing a career pathway in computer science this year – some as young as freshmen!” 

“Our district paid on-line course fees to enable a group of 13 students to take AP Computer Science Principles this year, but we are elated that this grant will cover the significant expense that will allow our own faculty to be certified to teach these capstone courses.”

As part of their studies to this point, FIS students programmed to create basic video games as well as other problem solving logarithms.  The school hopes to be able to fuel the interests and grow the skills of these students by offering other programming and AP computer courses.

“What is most exciting is that in 2021 we will have the opportunity to graduate some students that will have had 6 years of computer programming instruction and experience.  We feel like that will put them in an elite class as they enter post-secondary instruction and career competition,” states Miller.  That will be an incredible economic asset for our area” 

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