Avondale High School Expands Information Technology Courses for Students

Students Earning Industry Certifications Able to Enter Workforce Following Graduation

New courses and new equipment met Avondale High School students interested in pursuing a career in Information Technology (IT) when the doors opened for school this year. The expansions in programming align with the school’s commitment to increasing student preparedness for entry into IT fields upon graduation by allowing students opportunity to earn certifications and prepare to take the CSP Advanced Placement test if they choose.

Avondale High School teacher Martin Ballard and a student

Avondale High School teacher Martin Ballard and a student

The new Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses include Computer Science Principles (covering Android application design and prototyping; Python language programming; PHP, CSS, MySQL queries and databases, JavaScript, and HTML5; Visual graphing using Python; interpreting data; NetLogo; Computer security; and simple game design) and Computer Applications (covering Java Programming, Advanced Game Design using LibGDX, and Advanced Android Applications using Android Studio).

A third new course, Networking and Security, will be taught using TestOut Virtual labs and hands-on work to prepare students to take the industry certifications of TestOut Network Pro and Security Pro as well as CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ exams. Because Avondale School District is a CompTIA Authorized Academy, the TestOut certification exam is offered to each student for free. Students also have opportunity to take the MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) network exam free.

In addition to the new courses, a cache of digital tools to enhance CTE teaching and learning like DJIA Drones, 360 cameras, laser cutter, 3D printer, and 44 inch color plotter now includes a new CNC router. All of the equipment is used in the school’s Digital Multimedia and Web Design course. The course offers training in web design and use of the high tech equipment in a very hands-on setting while preparing students for A+ certification using the TestOut Virtual lab, the industry standard PC Pro test from TestOut, and the CompTIA A+ certification test. The tests are offered free or at a reduced cost because of the school’s CompTIA Authorized Academy designation.

Avondale High School teacher Martin Ballard, who has been integral in developing the new courses for the school, is excited about the new classes and the possibilities for the students. “This is a great opportunity that students should take advantage of. If a student takes all of the courses in the IT program at Avondale High School during their school career, they will graduate with several marketable certifications, valuable to employers in most every industry,” he said, adding that “with the certifications students can enter the workforce upon graduation or continue building their certifications portfolio with several credentials already under their belt.”

Ballard knows that CTE continuously evolves as technology does and that schools must persist in expanding their course offerings to keep up with demands for trained and certified employees. To that end, beginning in 2018, Avondale High School will be offering a course for students looking to obtain their CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification and in 2019 – a course in computer forensics. “Again, these are great opportunities for students,” he said.

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