Bay Ridge high school chosen for pilot software engineering program

Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a trip to Bay Ridge on the morning of Monday, February 25 to announce that the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology was one of 20 intermediate and high schools chosen citywide to roll out a new software engineering pilot program.

“This is vital to prepare our children to succeed,” Bloomberg said at a press conference held at the high school, located on 67th Street. We have to expand New York State as a whole as a global technological hub. This will help create a homegrown workforce that the technological center needs.”

When the program begins this fall, 1,000 students in grades six through 12 will be participating citywide. That number is expected to grow to 3,500 by 2016. Core topics to be taught include computer programming, embedded electronics, web design and programming, e-textiles, robotics and mobile computing. There will also be elective classes available, such as digital fabrication, 3D printing and animation.

Bloomberg added that, starting next month, two teachers from each of the pilot schools will get “comprehensive, professional development and training so they can better teach students.”

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who also attended the press conference, noted that, prior to the current administration, the last school of technology to open in the city was in 1960.

“Since Bloomberg has been in office, 21 have opened, plus seven more,” Walcott said, adding that many of these new technology-centered high schools offer college courses, making them grades nine through 13 or 14.

“We have to make sure that our students are college and career-ready,” he added.

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Bob Steele, also present, noted, “We have to make sure we outperform in the knowledge economy of the future,” he said. “This is the next generation of start-up success stories.”

“The challenge in education is to teach kids how to think, not just memorize,” Bloomberg contended. “College is not for everyone, but there are many ways that we can participate in the American Dream with the right training.”

Besides Telecommunications, the program will also be available at I.S. 30 (Mary White Ovington Intermediate School) in Bay Ridge. Other Brooklyn schools that will have the program include Brooklyn Tech, I.S. 62 (Ditmas Intermediate School) and I.S. 239 (Mark Twain Intermediate School).

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