Canon-McMillan School District became the first school district in Pennsylvania to accept Code to the Future, a comprehensive computer science immersion program.

Now, the district is encouraging students to participate in computer science education coursework at Canon-McMillan High School under the tutelage of Ms. Rebecca Gutosky, who’s goal is to encourage and inspire an increasing number of students – including historically underrepresented groups (females and minorities) – as part of district-wide computer science initiatives.

In addition to the current course available, Gutosky was recently notified that she was chosen by Amazon to bring the Amazon Future Engineer Program to the high school through AP Computer Science A (java programming), the other AP course she teaches at the school.

She said this program will open up internship, networking and scholarship opportunities from Amazon for Canon-McMillan students who pursue careers in computer science. The program is free of charge to the district and Gutosky will be trained to implement the program.

Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs, a pace that is twice the national average for job growth.

“Throughout the district, Canon-McMillan is increasing the number of computer science courses and opportunities, integrating computer science into all subjects, in all grades, K through 12,” Gutosky said. “As the sole computer science teacher at the high school level, it is my mission to continue that district-wide trend while also preparing for increased enrollment in computer science coursework at the high school. My objective is to continue to organize and implement several different CS courses for students to enroll in to receive the much-needed exposure to and opportunities to learn computer science concepts. This will (impact) the nearly 1,600 students in grades nine through 12.”

Funding and support of code.org and Allegheny IU3 has allowed Gutosky to bring AP Computer Science Principles to Canon-McMillan High School.

According to her, the implementation of this new course in this school-year, has been an “incredible success,” with 43 students currently enrolled and learning CS concepts previously not available to them. “With further recruitment efforts, I anticipate increased enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year by at least one more section, broadening access to all students, not just those who are naturally inclined toward computer science,” Gutosky said.

Additionally, Gutosky is including a number of other courses in the program of studies to help serve this mission. Those are: Computer Science I (Intro. to C++ programming), Computer Science II (Intro. to Java programming), AP Computer Science A (programming in Java), Microsoft Visual C# programming, and Advanced Topics in Computer Science (advanced Java and C++, Intro. to Python programming language).

“The computer science coursework that I have made available at the high school will help children understand, at a fundamental level, how to use coding in creative problem-solving while reaching a broader spectrum of students, not just those who are naturally inclined toward the topic,” she explained. “This lends itself to my pledge for the future – to continue to make computer science available to all high school students and to recruit underrepresented populations such as young women who are historically underrepresented in computer science fields.”

Gutosky has a goal of bringing a Computer Science Club to Canon-McMillan High School that appeals to a diverse population of students in new after-school programs.

Her plans are or the utilization of resources for the CS Club are Raspberry Pi and Arduino projects, a partnership with GirlsWhoCode.com, and possibly a project initiative inclined toward coding in computer gaming.

“The CS club at (Canon-McMillan HighSchool) will also support recruitment efforts to involve an increasing number of students in computer science education,” she said.

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