Harlan High School awarded computer science funds

Published 2:31 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Harlan Independent High School recently received funding for $10,000 to be used for Computer Science instruction at the high school.

According to a news release, Code.org awarded the money to Harlan High School’s Advanced Placement Computer Sciences teacher Greg Edens. Edens is the Technology Student Association Advisor. The Technology Student Association assists students with instructional options in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas of learning.

Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent C.D. Morton said he is excited about the benefits the school’s computer science program will receive due to the funding.

“We think the additional resources will go a long way in helping prepare students for that field, which happens to be a high demand, high wage area,” Morton said. “I’m really proud of Mr. Eden’s efforts to be proactive and secure additional resources to bring into the school.”

Harlan High School Principal Britt Lawson credits the computer science instruction with providing students a foundation needed for the high-demand career path faced by those pursuing computer science futures.

“Computer Science is a very lucrative career pathway that can allow students to secure employment or advanced degrees with the luxury of working from anywhere in the world,” Lawson said. “The possibilities are endless for students who wish to work in this sector, and I am excited we can offer the foundation they need to pursue that career.”

Morton talked about the advantages computer science education can provide to today’s high school students.

“That skill set is going to be really valuable,” Morton said. “It provides a tremendous foundational understanding for software development and application development and comes with a host of skills that are transferrable to just about any other field in which they are going to work. Even for students who don’t pursue a computer science degree or software development, having a strong understanding of how those things work is a necessary skill to be successful in the 21st century.”

The “Hour of Code” event was held recently for Harlan Independent Middle School and Harlan Independent High School students. Dr. Sean Jackson of the Kentucky Department of Education assisted Edens with the event. Jackson is the K-12 Computer Science Lead in the Office of Education Technology.

“Providing access to courses in Computer Science has been a priority for the Commonwealth,” Jackson said. “In 2021, over 5000 CS-related jobs were open in Kentucky, with only 704 graduates of colleges and universities receiving degrees in this field. It is imperative, as this sector grows nationwide, that Kentucky students are prepped with the foundational knowledge to succeed in this field. The CS Leaders prize of $10,000 will allow Harlan Independent to continue the growth of its courses while also rewarding the steps taken this year to start their journey. This a great opportunity for current and future Green Dragons.”

The release states Code.org is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to every student having the opportunity to learn computer science as part of their core K-12 education. Edens was additionally awarded a no-cost scholarship to attend Code.org’s Professional Learning Program. Harlan High was only one of two Kentucky high schools to be selected for the award.