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STEM, AUTISM & Computing

The worlds of STEM and Autism are replete with large variances. On the STEM side, there is a large variance between the number of STEM jobs available and those projected for the future, and the number of qualified candidates for those jobs. The latter is far smaller than the former. A similar variance exists on the Autism side, between the number of high school students on the spectrum who graduate, and the employment numbers for those students after they graduate. By one reckoning, 35% of high school grads on the spectrum between the ages of 19 and 23 have never had a job or received any education beyond high school.
The point was further driven home at the 2nd annual STEM Symposium earlier this week in San Diego. One of the keynote speakers, Hadi Partovi, Co-founder and CEO of Code.org emphasized the striking variances in computer science. At a time when knowledge of computers, computer science and programming is of critical importance to almost every occupation, of the more than 42,000 high schools in the United States, only 2,100 are qualified to teach the AP exam in computer science. Yet every indication is that those who are successful later on in studying computer science in college, or getting jobs in the field, or who were successfully able to apply their knowledge of computers in any field, began by taking classes in computer science in high school. Whether you’re in medicine or health, finance or business, education or teaching, or whatever your field, computers and computing are an inescapable part of your reality.
At Village Glen, we introduce computers and programming at the elementary level. We understand the need to have structured and progressive classes of increasing complexity leading in high school to AP Computer Science as an elective. To be successful beyond high school, students do need to be schooled in the 21st century soft skills, skills such as critical thinking, finding solutions cooperatively, and being independent thinkers. But it is also essential that they have mastered MS Office, been exposed to HTML, Google docs, and programming. This is our way to effectively reduce those pernicious variances.

A student running code
A student running code

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