20 NYC schools starting Software Engineering Pilot program next year

Brian Heater
B. Heater|02.26.13

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Brian Heater
February 26, 2013 11:06 PM
20 NYC schools starting Software Engineering Pilot program next year

Back in our day, software engineering training in junior high and high school meant a couple of Apple IIs and a game of Snake on our graphing calculators (if we were lucky). These days, it's becoming something of a necessity for students, and New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is looking to get out in front of the curve, with the launch of the city's new Software Engineering Pilot program, a curriculum set to kick off at the beginning of the next school year. The program, which will serve 1,000 students (that number jumping to 3,500 in 2016), was designed to help kids prepare for higher education and jobs in the tech sector. We've got to admit, we're feeling a bit jealous of the list of topics, which includes not only things like programming and web design, but also embedded electronics, robotics, animation and 3D printing. The full list of schools can be found in the press release after the break.

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Initiative to Expand Computer Science and Software Engineering Classes - First Announced in the State of the City - to Launch Next Fall

Program to Help Prepare Students for College and Careers in Growing Tech Sector

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced the 20 schools selected for the new Software Engineering Pilot program to begin at the start of the next school year. The schools will receive comprehensive computer science and software engineering curriculum for the 1,000 students expected to participate this fall. By 2016, the program will grow to 3,500 students. Mayor Bloomberg first announced the Software Engineering Pilot in his State of the City address earlier this month, and the program is a part of the City's work to prepare students for college and careers in the technology sector. The Mayor and Chancellor Walcott made the announcement at the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn, one of the 20 schools selected for the Software Engineering Pilot, and were joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, AppNexus Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Mike Nolet and Principal Philip Weinberg.

"We know it's vital to prepare our children to succeed in an increasingly technology-centered economy and the Software Engineering Pilot will help us do just that," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This groundbreaking program will ensure that more students receive computer science and software engineering instruction so that they can compete for the tech jobs that are increasingly becoming a part of our city's economy. We're creating the home-grown workforce our city needs and teaching our students skills that will open up new doors for them and their future."

"The tech industry in New York City continues to expand significantly under Mayor Bloomberg's leadership, and our public schools are rising to meet the challenge," said Chancellor Walcott. "The Software Engineering Pilot will provide students with the foundational skills they need to compete for high-paying, career track jobs in a variety of professional fields. I would like to thank the educators at our 20 pilot schools who are working hard to make this wonderful opportunity a reality for their students."

"The Software Engineering Pilot is the latest component of our comprehensive strategy to position New York City to outperform in the knowledge economy of the future," said Deputy Mayor Steel. "From our work with the tech industry, we know that these companies need skilled employees at every level of their organization. The training we're providing through this program, the Academy for Software Engineering in Manhattan and the Applied Sciences NYC initiative will prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow."

"Hiring programmers and engineers is one of the biggest challenges facing AppNexus today and is critical to our success and growth," said Mike Nolet, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer. "We applaud Mayor Bloomberg's leadership in preparing students for the jobs of the future. These students will surely benefit from learning computer science, and we will be hiring them as soon as possible!"

"New York's future will be defined by the steps we take today to shape our diverse students into the programmers, engineers and designers that will fill 21st century tech jobs of tomorrow," said Reshma Saujani, founder of the nonprofit Girls Who Code. "The SEP Program is an innovative step forward in making that future brighter, and Girls Who Code is excited to partner with them to close the skills gap to give more minorities and young women opportunities they are currently being denied."

"Giving students an opportunity for a bright future is the goal of every educator, and opportunity is what students will get when exposed to rigorous and engaging computer science education," said Cameron Wilson, Director of Public Policy for the Association for Computing Machinery. "The question we face is whether students will have access to this critical discipline because far too often they do not. New York City's Software Engineering Pilot's strategy to expand student access to high-quality computer science curriculum coupled with professional development for teachers, will give students knowledge and skills they can use to create new computing technologies and exposure to a field driving high-demand, high-paying jobs across numerous industries."

In September, the Software Engineering Pilot will launch in 20 middle and high schools, bringing computer science and software engineering classes to students in grades 6 through 12. In the first year, the core topics to be taught include computer programming, embedded electronics, web design and programming, e-textiles, robotics and mobile computing. The Pilot will also offer elective classes, including digital fabrication, 3-D printing and animation.

The 20 schools were selected through a competitive application process that evaluated the schools' current technology offerings and how the program could help grow and sustain the programming. They include:

High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology
Brooklyn Technical High School
The Bronx Compass High School
The Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation
Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology
Queens Vocational & Technical High School
Cambria Heights Academy
Ralph McKee High School
New Dorp High School
Ditmas Intermediate School 62
I.S. 30 Mary White Ovington
Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted and Talented
Bronx Park Middle School
M.S. 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
Tompkins Square Middle School
Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74
J.H.S. 185 Edward Bleeker
Pathways College Preparatory School
J.H.S. 157 Stephen A. Halsey
Eagle Academy for Young Men
The Software Engineering Pilot will also provide teacher training for the instructors leading the classes. Schools will use rigorous academic curriculum and have access to technology resources to support program instruction. Participating high schools will also receive support in applying for New York State Education Department approval, which can award a Career and Technical Education endorsement to graduating students who complete the program.

The Software Engineering Pilot aligns to Common Core Learning Standards by developing students' higher order thinking skills through the incorporation of industry-informed learning experiences. By emphasizing the analysis of complex text and mathematical modeling, participating students will extend their preparation in English Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics while leveraging cutting-edge technology and curricula to develop the academic and personal behaviors that are a benchmark of college and career readiness.

The program also builds on the Applied Sciences NYC initiative that the Bloomberg Administration launched to capitalize on the considerable growth in the city's science, technology and research fields. In the technology sector, employment in New York grew by nearly 30 percent between 2005 and 2010, with total employment now at nearly 120,000. The City has established three partnerships expected to create more than 48,000 jobs and 1,000 new companies and will be led by: Cornell and the Technion, which is developing a campus on Roosevelt Island; the NYU-led consortium, which will build the Center for Urban Science and Progress in Downtown Brooklyn; and Columbia University, which will establish the new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, to be located at Columbia's Morningside Heights and Washington Heights campuses.

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20 NYC schools starting Software Engineering Pilot program next year