Seventh- and eighth-graders at Buena Park Junior High are mastering Advanced Placement computer science concepts typically taught to high school juniors and seniors – and earning college credit – as part of a partnership designed to promote interest in tech careers.
The Computer Science class is offered through a partnership with Anaheim-based nonprofit Cod.Ed Education, teaching computer languages such as Java and Python and programming theories.
Since the program’s inception, more than 120 students have taken the class and six have passed the rigorous AP computer science test, earning college credits.
Veronica Diaz, who was one of two Buena Park Junior High students to pass the AP exam in 2018-19, said her Cod.Ed instructors and electives teacher Shelley Andros provided her with massive support as well as career inspiration.
“They helped me feel a lot more confident in my abilities, which helped me pass the exam. They would also give me supplementary materials and answer questions that I had about the material,” Diaz said. “I think passing the exam has made me consider working as a programmer and I’m interested in pursuing a career in engineering or computers.”
Cod.Ed Education Executive Director and CEO Richard Woo said he created the program because many schools do not teach computer science skills that will be vital for future jobs.
“If the world is changing and the future careers are technology driven, why are most schools not teaching computer science?” Woo said. “I saw that in my son’s school and it dawned on me that it has to change.”
“Our Computer Science class is an amazing example of how the District is working to spark our students’ imaginations and inspire them to be lifelong learners,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Our students are learning skills that will prepare them for careers in the technology field and will put them ahead of the curve when they enter college.”
COMPUTER1: Two Buena Park Junior High School students collaborate on how to write a line of code in Java during a Computer Science class session.
COMPUTER2: Computer Science class coding instructor Robin Shon answers student questions about writing Java during a class session at Buena Park Junior High.