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State education board proposes computer science courses
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More information on the computer science courses posted for public review and comment by the Georgia Board of Education and links to submit public comment can be found at gadoe.org.

FORSYTH COUNTY — Standards for three new computer science courses have been posted for public review and comment by the Georgia Board of Education.

The courses, which are all part of the Information Technology Career Cluster Pathway, will be available for public comment for 60 days. They were posted Sept. 25.

If approved, students in any of the proposed classes — embedded computing, web development and game design: animation and simulation — would be eligible to receive a core math, science or foreign language credit.

Gov. Nathan Deal recommended in August 2014 that the state school board allow students to take a computer programming course to satisfy one of three requirements for receiving a high school diploma (math, science or foreign language).

“Preparing students to succeed in the modern work force is a top priority of my administration,” Deal said. “Computing is currently one of the fastest growing occupations in the country, with average salaries nearly twice the national rate. Training our students to fill these high-wage, in-demand positions is necessary for Georgia to maintain a world-class work force.”

Students have access to five computer science courses that can replace a fourth math, science or foreign language credit; if approved, the courses currently posted for comment would bring the total to eight.

Computer science classes are available in all five Forsyth County public high schools, according to Valery Lowe, director of work force development for the school district. Web development and programming are also available in some schools.

The new pathways being proposed are in an effort to fill the skills gap in the growing IT sector of Georgia, Lowe said.

The new college and career academy the district hopes to open by 2018 — with Lowe at the helm of its development — tentatively would have courses in Health IT, she said.

Each course was developed collaboratively by kindergarten through 12thgrade teachers, post-secondary educators and industry representatives.

“We need computer science and programming in our public schools,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Skilled programmers, software developers and engineers are in demand in Georgia, but without a pipeline of skilled workers to fill those jobs, businesses will look outside Georgia to find the employees that they need. We cannot afford to let our Georgia graduates miss out on those opportunities.