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Press Release - DCPS Launches Northwestern Computer Science Academy

CONTACT: Laureen Ricks
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., MARCH 1, 2017 – Duval County Public Schools students now have more opportunities to program their code for success through the creation of a new Computer Science Academy and technology hub at Northwestern Middle School. A $2.1 million School Improvement Initiative from the Florida Department of Education will provide students access to state-of-the-art equipment to develop technical skills through rigorous courses in coding, animation, gaming, and sound engineering. In addition, the hub will be the central site for serving 44 other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) labs throughout the district. Once fully operational, the Northwestern Computer Science Academy will provide continuity that feeds into various high school technology-based magnet and choice programs.
“With technology-related careers growing at a faster rate than all other industries and offering high-paying salaries, we are positioning students at Northwestern to be prepared for the leading jobs of the future,” said DCPS Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti. “This initiative will allow both students enrolled at Northwestern and participating elementary schools an opportunity to experience a technology-rich environment with the most current resources and instruction available. This hub will help spark a greater interest in coding and computer sciences, and establish necessary foundational skills for succeeding in today and tomorrow’s workforce.” 
As the primary DCPS hub for coding and computer science, the Northwestern Computer Science Academy will provide customized-computer coding curriculum and project-based coursework, which will be integrated into all core classes. Classrooms will be transformed into computer science learning spaces featuring modular desks and chairs, laptops for each student, robotics and computer science kits, animation and digital design software, and touch-screen tables. Both the hands-on curriculum and refurbished classrooms are designed for students to progress from beginner to advanced coder before entering high school.
In addition to creating the Computer Science Academy at Northwestern Middle School, the School Improvement Initiative will support STEM labs in 44 other Title 1 schools. This includes the 11 elementary schools that received STEM labs in the last school year thanks to a $1.2 million School Improvement Initiative fund. This year’s initiative is building on the district’s mission to expand STEM-learning opportunities in all of its schools.
About Duval County Public Schools
Duval County Public Schools is the 20th largest school district in the nation, educating more than 128,000 students in over 190 schools. Its mission is to provide educational excellence for every school, in every classroom, for every student, every day. Visit to learn more.