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Polson schools builds new programs

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News from Polson Schools

POLSON — Polson High School is focusing efforts to build a Computer Science Program to provide exposure and skill development opportunities for students. The new program is in partnership with Project Lead The Way (PLTW). PLTW is a National STEM Curriculum Provider. This year approximately 40 students have been participating in the foundation level course titled “Computer Science Essentials (CSE)”. One of those students is freshman Violet Humble. Violet shared that one of her favorite things about the CSE course is “the freedom of the tasks and how we are able to use our own creativity to create many different apps and solutions to problems.”

CSE provides a framework for students to experience the major topics, big ideas, and computational thinking practices used by computing professionals to solve problems and create value for others. In addition to this framework, students begin to develop coding and programming skills. As the year progresses, students partner to develop basic apps and learn to program and code robotic systems.

Next year PHS will be adding the next course in this sequence “Computer Science Principles (CSP)”. CSP is described as “Using Python as a primary tool, students explore and become inspired by career paths that utilize computing, discover tools that foster creativity and collaboration, and use what they’ve learned to tackle challenges like app development and simulation. This course is endorsed by the College Board, giving students the opportunity to take the AP Computer Science Principles exam for college credit.” 

Polson High School is excited about these new opportunities for students. Computer Science is one of the fastest growing careers in our country and in the world. Locally, we are seeing an increase in the need for these skills. PHS received a grant for $14,000 to support the teacher professional development that is required to offer these courses. The instructor for these courses is Connor Mulvaney. Mr. Mulvaney is in his second year at Polson High School where he teaches Computer Science and Earth Science. When asked about the impact of these courses, Mr. Mulvaney stated, “These classes expose students to foundational computer science and coding concepts. The students get to design their own apps, program robots, and learn how to write their own code. I am constantly amazed at how my students creatively approach and solve problems.”

In addition to the PLTW classes that PHS offers, Ms. Polly Dupuis has also worked with PHS students and SKC Staff to offer a Dual Enrollment Computer Science class. These course additions are a small part of a larger effort to expand the job training and skill development programs at PHS. If you would like more information, please contact Andy Fors at Polson High School.

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