Jackson High’s Information Technology Academy and Georgia Tech launch Operation Reboot

Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School’s Information Technology Academy will be the only site in Atlanta Public Schools to participate in Operation Reboot, a program designed to transform IT workers into teachers. Thanks to Barbara Ericson, director of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, and Dr. Shirlene Carter, Jackson principal, and Dr. Phyllis Earls, Academy Leader for the Information Technology Academy, Operation Reboot will launch at Jackson High this month.

Dr. Theo Smith, Jr., theme teacher in the IT Academy, shared an article with Dr. Earls in April 2009 that offered an overview of the grant’s proposal and contact information. The timing was perfect; Dr. Earls and the IT theme teachers were reflecting on the course offerings and the direction of the program beyond year one of the IT Small Learning Community launch in August 2008. Though the Programs of Studies (POS) were established, the theme teachers in the academy (though certified to teach POS courses) wanted more professional learning experiences to provide a sure-fire “hook” for the IT Academy students.

The IT worker will serve as an expert/on-site mentor for the theme teachers to strengthen their instructional best practices in their respective theme-related courses, and for the students to make real-world connections. The theme teachers will provide the pedagogical foundation for the IT worker during one year of co-teaching with the hope of being awarded a teaching certificate in a core subject area and a computer science endorsement.

Finally, the IT students will benefit from the skill set of an expert IT worker in their classrooms during the outset of the second semester as a result of a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation through Georgia Tech. This year, the IT worker will collaborate with the theme teachers in the IT Academy to teach POS course Computing in the Modern World and Beginning Programming.

Major thanks to Lola Azuana, college bound program manager at Jackson, for the info!

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