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Industries that rely on computer scientists are in need, and the need is growing. How does LSR7 respond? By completely rethinking how we prepare students to be future-ready for a promising career in information technology. 

The number of current postings in the KC area grows every month, in most categories by double digits. In October, there were a total of 6,672 local jobs listed at companies including Garmin, Cerner, Humana, Honeywell, and more. Occupations topping the list include Software Developer, Information Security Analysts, and Network and Computer Systems Administrator, among others.* 

LSR7 teachers, with the help of the Curriculum and Instruction Department, worked with our industry partners to identify skills needed in the workforce. Valued business partners shared trends through an advisory board and continued to be available for consultation. Educators learned as technology transitions to be more cloud-based, there is a clear shift from siloing specific skills to a need for cross-categorical training so professionals have a deep understanding of multiple concepts. 

Our computer science teachers and curriculum specialists got to work to develop a pathway that helps students explore their interests and give rich learning opportunities to prepare them for their futures. As a sixth-grader in middle school, students will be enrolled in an “exploratory wheel” course which will help dip their toes into Information Technology (IT). From there, semester and year-long courses will further their core base knowledge. 

High school courses differentiate to let students choose IT courses connected to Media and Web, Computer Science and Programming, as well as Hardware and Operating Systems. High schools also offer more rigorous curriculum through AP options. Students who are passionate and are ready for the next steps have additional options at Summit Technology Academy at the Missouri Innovation Campus (STA).

The computer science pathway at STA is recognized as a Cisco Lighthouse Academy. Next year, there will be 8 different semester courses in a “choose your own adventure” style curriculum. After mastering the foundational courses, options to dive deep into software languages, data and artificial intelligence, and app development will all be available. Additional capstone courses in networking and cybersecurity will also be offered, giving access to the cross-categorical training that industry demands. Multiple certifications, 20+ hours of college credit, and even access to internships through the MIC accelerated bachelor program with more than 50 businesses across the KC metro area are available which give students a clear advantage after graduation.

Just as the IT industry constantly changes, LSR7 computer science educators continue to meet the needs by revising the curriculum, equipping students for their future careers.

*KC Tech Council Tech Checkpoint October 2021