- The Richmond Regional School for Innovation project, a collaboration among 13 Virginia high schools, creates one regional school with an increased focus on computer science, slated to open in the 2016-17 school year.
- At the school, also known as CodeRVA, freshmen and sophomores will learn core skills and some computer science before focusing on internships and working toward an Associate’s degree during their last two years.
- The superintendent leading the effort, James F. Lane, tells eSchoolNews that the idea was to “create a high school environment that’s more reflective of modern education and preparation for the modern workforce.”
Around the U.S., a heightened focus on coding and computer science has been widespread on the heels of studies and surveys that found the country lagged behind others when it came to technology. One 2010 report, "Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age," found a 17% deline in the number of high schools offering introductory computer science courses between 2005 and 2009.
A recent Microsoft survey showed the availability of around 120,000 new tech jobs annually, yet eSchoolNews reports that the education system produces only 49,000 graduates in related fields during that same period. Events like the annual Hour of Code are working to change that, along with the incorporation of more computer programming in classrooms. Various U.S. cities have adopted different approaches, ranging from deeper teacher tech training to redefined core curriculum that weaves coding into subjects like math and science.
And initiatives like Florida’s Girls Who Code program are even more specific, with a goal of getting more girls to participate and become interested in computer science and other STEM fields.