School Leader Pathways

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Developing a Computer Science Pathway

John Becchio

Principal, Santa Barbara High School

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Principal John Becchio decided to develop a computer science academy at Santa Barbara High School after watching a small but enthusiastic group of Robotics Club students learn to program computers as part of a competition that emphasizes programming. These are some of the steps he took to bring computer science to more students in his school:

  1. Recruit someone in the school to teach computer science: Principal Becchio’s first step was to recruit a calculus teacher to teach an introductory computer science course at the school. If you don’t already have a teacher with the expertise to teach computer science, see the Recruiting High School Computer Science Teachers tool for suggestions.
  2. Identify University Supports: Next, he brought in advisors, including a computer science professor at California Polytechnic State University. Learn more about how to find support for CS at your school in the Mapping Your Community Computer Science Assets tool. Principal Becchio also hired a new physics teacher with a computer science background from a local university.
  3. Computer Science Outreach: To reach a broad range of students in the school, he asked another teacher in the school to advise on organizing outreach to encourage more girls and other students traditionally underrepresented in computing classes to study computer science. To learn more about strategies to engage students typically underrepresented in computer science, see the Including Students Traditionally Underrepresented in Computer Science tool.
  4. Leverage Industry Expertise: Finally, he recruited an industry professional — a software engineer — to join the team. He asked this individual to lead the school’s computer science initiative, teach AP Computer Science, and develop an innovative curriculum. To read about available instructional materials, see the Computer Science Instructional Resources tool.

Developing a Computer Science Pathway (modified from