As the #2 STEM program in the country, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp couldn’t have chosen a better backdrop than Wheeler High School for the signing of Senate Bill 108, which requires all high schools in the state to offer a computer science class to students.
“Not only was the Cobb County School District an early adopter of STEM curriculum, many of our schools have led the state and the nation in STEM and STEAM certifications,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “As the #2 STEM program in the nation, Wheeler High School was the ideal backdrop for the signing of Senate Bill 108 and we appreciate Governor Kemp coming to Cobb to sign both of these bills.”
For Wheeler students like Brian Kent and Aubrey Blair, taking computer science classes isn’t something new. It’s the norm and in fact, required for students in Wheeler’s Magnet program.
“Computer Science is really important. Even if you don’t go into programming specifically, the basic concepts you learn will be useful in whatever field you go in because it is such a technology-orientated world now,” explained Brian.
The Wheeler junior, who is looking to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Georgia Institute of Technology, credits the Wheeler computer science classes for giving him a good foundation and inspiring him to branch out into other areas like data science competitions where he and his fellow Wheeler students recently outperformed 34 collegiate teams for the top title.
“[Senate Bill 108] creates new requirements for instruction in computer science in middle school and high school. This is a big issue for our state. We must continue to prepare our students for jobs of the 21st Century. This bill will help do that,” Gov. Kemp said at the signing.
Because of computer science and technology is so integrated into the Wheeler curriculum, Aubrey was surprised that other students around the state don’t currently have the same opportunity. She thinks it is great that Georgia students will now graduate with at least a basic understanding of computer science thanks to the signing of SB 108.
“Because we have become so reliant on technology and how important it is in our daily lives, having even a basic knowledge will be useful going forward in the workforce and in life in general,” the Wheeler Magnet student added.
In addition to the computer science bill, Gov. Kemp also signed into law several other student-focused bills while at Wheeler High School including Senate Bill 48, which mandates additional teacher training and the screening of every Georgia kindergartner for the language-based learning disability dyslexia starting in 2024.
Cobb school psychologists are well-equipped to assess signs of reading disabilities like Dyslexia. Once identified, a team of highly-qualified educators work together to determine the needs of the student and the best type of specialized instruction to help the student succeed in the classroom.
Addressing the health of students outside of the classroom, Gov. Kemp also signed Senate Bill 60 that helps protect student-athletes by mandating training on the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest.
Lastly, Gov. Kemp signed House Bill 218 and House Bill 68 to help students after high school graduation. The first extends the eligibility from seven to 10 years for students to receive the HOPE Scholarship. The latter prohibits school accreditors from serving as Student Scholarship Organizations.