Also during its meeting Thursday night, the Forsyth County Board of Education:
* Approved RA-LIN and Associates Inc. as the general contractor for construction projects at Riverwatch and South Forsyth middle schools, costing a total of $21.5 million, with $4.3 million in state reimbursements. Construction is expected to be completed by August.
* Adopted the tentative budget for fiscal year 2016 at $345.5 million. It can be changed during the next month before final approval in July.
-- Kayla Robins
FORSYTH COUNTY — Science and math initiatives and robotics programs may have skyrocketed in Forsyth County, but many in the school district want to explore additional avenues for drawing more students into computer science and coding.
Forsyth County Schools has joined with Code.org in the hopes of increasing participation in computer science courses by women and underrepresented students of various ethnic backgrounds, according to the district.
Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding computer science education by making it easily accessible in more schools. It helps weave it into the core curriculum alongside science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, courses like biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.
Students who learn how to create their own game will learn about coordinate planes in conjunction with learning how to code, a skill they may not have been voluntarily drawn to learning, said Kelly Price, director of academic standards for the district.
Forsyth County is among just a handful of districts across the nation involved with Code.org, which will roll out next school year.
The school systems in neighboring Fulton and Gwinnett counties are the only others in Georgia to form this partnership, which provides free curriculums and teacher training.
In fact, less than 80 school districts nationwide have been afforded the opportunity, and many are large systems such as Miami-Dade Public Schools or the Los Angeles Unified School District.
But Forsyth is the lone county in Georgia to include this program at all grade levels. Fulton and Gwinnett will introduce it to sixth-12thgrades, Price said.
Code.org, established in 2013, is funded by hi-tech companies and giants like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Microsoft and Google. These companies want to support the training of their future employees.
According to the Code.org website, Georgia has 21,937 open computing jobs and 1,836 computer science graduates.
Some 130 schools in the state teach computer science, and Georgia is one of 25 states where students can count computer science for credit towards high school graduation.
South Forsyth High is one of those schools. With the new partnership, Price said, all five public high schools in Forsyth will teach computer science.