Governor Promotes Computer Science at Foreman High School

By JESSIE SMITH
City editor

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson addresses the Foreman High School students about his computer science initiative on Sept. 11.

On Sept. 11, Gov. Asa Hutchinson visited Foreman High School to talk about the importance of computer science in Arkansas. Hutchinson visited the computer science classroom where he spoke with the nine students currently enrolled in the computer science class.

He then addressed the high school students in the auditorium about how much Arkansas has pushed to become a leader in computer science in public schools.

Foreman High School offered computer science as a virtual learning class for the past few years, but over the summer, Tammy Lawrence went through two training courses at the DeQueen-Mena Education Service Cooperative and the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA) in order to teach the class for the first time this fall.

“I was able to put those two together, and I felt a little more comfortable than what I did at the beginning,” Lawrence said. “I said, ‘okay, we’re going to do it.’ I got my two-year certification.”Lawrence said she learned coding at the training, and she uses apps to work with different coding languages. One app took her two and a half days to solve. “When I finally got it, I was so proud,” Lawrence said.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson visits Tammy Lawrence and the nine students in her computer science class.

“To me it was a huge accomplishment because I didn’t know anything about computer science before this past summer.” When Hutchinson visited the classroom, the students introduced themselves and shook his hand. Lawrence said she was proud of them.

“They thought it was neat that he came to our little school,” Lawrence said. Foreman High School is one of eight Arkansas schools Hutchinson is visiting during his fall 2019 tour to promote computer science. The Foreman class follows a curriculum of modules to learn the many aspects of computer science, but Lawrence also has some other projects in mind for her students.

The class will participate in the Congressional App Challenge, which is a contest sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives in which students compete to create the best original app. Arkansas Rep. French Hill is one of the two 2019 co-chairs for the challenge.

On Sept. 18, the nine students in the computer science class spent all day participating in a livestream with the Dawson Education Service Cooperative and several other schools to train for the challenge. Since each team can only have up to four students, Lawrence said the class will split into three teams of three students.

The deadline to submit an original app is Nov. 1.

 

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