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Thursday, December 7, 2017
Oakridge provides opportunities for students to explore many careers. We’ve had over 90 students enrolled across 16 different programs at the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center (MACTC).
This past week was Computer Science Education Week, and we would like to highlight the Computer Science program at various grade levels at Oakridge Public Schools.
Lower Elementary students took part in the Hour of Code week as part of the Computer Science Education Week. Mrs. Fett’s first two hours welcomed guest speaker, Hunter Crampton who is a senior at OHS. Hunter is taking part in the Computer Science program at the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center, as well as advanced placement classes at Oakridge High School. He spent a morning with young students talking about all he has learned in Computer Science and what the field means in the real world. It was an ideal opportunity to open minds of our youngest learners that are always thinking of what they want to be when they grow up!
Meanwhile, the Upper Elementary students have the opportunity to take part in the STEAM program all year long. The STEAM program is in its third year at Oakridge Public Schools, and the goal of the STEAM program has always been to increase college and career readiness for our Oakridge Upper Elementary School students. We focus on teaching 21st Century Skills (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking). We use those 21st Century Skills and the Engineering Design Process (E.D.P.) to identify and solve a variety of problems. Through research and discussions with local business owners, we have found that these are the skills lacking in today’s workforce and I am very excited that STEAM can help address that need. STEAM also gives the students an opportunity to get their hands dirty, allowing them to make mistakes and learn in a more natural way. By the conclusion of Upper Elementary, our students will have worked together to complete a minimum of 18 small group projects, recorded their progress in a digital portfolio, and presented their findings to the class. After teaching STEAM for just a couple years, I can already say that the students here at Oakridge Upper Elementary have developed much better teamwork skills and problem solving ability.
At the high school level, an advanced placement (AP) course is available to students interested in learning about Computer Science (Coding). Oakridge High School is one of three high schools in the county that offers this program to students. By taking this course, students will earn a 4th year of Math credit, and are eligible to earn college credit by passing the AP Test at the end of the year. This is the first year Oakridge has offered AP-Computer Science, and it is among the most popular advanced placement courses offered.
If your student has interest in high demand industries like Computer Science, there are jobs waiting for them. Check them out! A few programs are available to explore at the MACTC: 1) Computer Aided Design (CAD), 2) Internet, Network and Security Technologies, and 3) Electrical/Computer Technologies.