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techdirections February 2017 : Page 23

tive director of Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS). While not involved in creating SFUSD’s curriculum, ACCESS works to bring computer science education to traditionally underserved student populations in California. Flapan said that based on what she’s read about the planned SFUSD program, San Francisco leaders seem to un-derstand the difference between just teaching students how to use tech-nology and teaching them how to use computer programming as a form of problem solving. In addition to curriculum design, the new program will need more funding if it is to expand. Despite San Francisco’s proximity to wealthy Silicon Valley, 54 percent of students in San Francisco’s public schools received free or reduced lunch in the 2014-15 school year and many schools do not have enough equip-ment to sustain a computer science curriculum. Only two of the city’s middle schools now offer an elective course in the subject. The initial phase of the pilot year will rely heavily on outside support and will include only 12 of the dis-and we continue to seek additional sources so that we can pilot in the elementary grades,” Twarek said. Classroom volunteer Aimee Menne helps teach one of the only computer science classes currently offered at San Francisco’s Mission High. Andra Cernavskis trict’s K-8 and middle schools. Sales-force Foundation, the philanthropic arm of a local software company that has already donated money and re-sources to improving access to tech-nology in most of San Francisco’s middle schools, is a major backer of the middle school program. “We expect to fund the pilot pri-marily through external sources, SFUSD has agreed to pick up some program costs in the inaugural year, including teacher training. Twarek anticipates that the dis-trict will introduce the curriculum to elementary schools and preschools over the course of the next school year, with the goal of having a com-puter science curriculum in every school by 2016-2017. www.techdirections.com COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY 23

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