By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill aimed at boosting computer science education in Colorado’s public schools.

The new law calls for $11,488 to go toward computer science curriculum materials. The bill was sponsored by the Democratic speaker of the House and the Republican president of the Senate. Their goal was to prepare Colorado students for jobs in technology, the fastest growing employment sector in the economy.

(credit CBS)

“Right now there are jobs being unfilled in those areas, and they’re good paying jobs. They have the opportunity to make a very, very good wage and have the opportunity to grow over time, to have a salary up to six figures,” said Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, a Democrat from Denver.

Sophomore students at the Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design take computer science classes every day. The school opened 2 years ago and puts science, technology, engineering and math at the core of its curriculum.

Denver School of Innovation & Sustainable Design (credit CBS)

“So computer science really has as much weight as social studies or a language arts class,” said Danny Medved, the principal at DSISD.

The computer science program focuses on all aspects of the discipline, including algorithms, networking, internet security and privacy, as well as coding.

“They’re learning how to be responsible digital citizens,” said Madeline Burton, the computer science teacher at DSISD.

It’s the kind of in-depth education in computers that lawmakers want to bring to public schools across the state. Under the new law, the Department of Education is required to create a computer science curriculum that schools can access. It expands the opportunities that computer literacy will provide students in the job market, and allows some students to study what they love.

(credit CBS)

“I got fascinated with computers when I was younger, and you know I never really had the opportunity to really go in-depth without going out of school to do it,” said Luke Clements, a sophomore at DSISD.

“The more you learn here the easier it seems to get and the more you want to learn,” said Gabriella Ayala, another sophomore at the school.

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.

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