Education, Sci-Tech

New artificial intelligence career and technical education program approved for Baltimore County Public Schools

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TOWSON, MD—The Maryland State Department of Education has approved Baltimore County Public Schools’ plans to launch an artificial intelligence program in the 2023-2024 school year as one of its career and technical education (CTE) offerings.

The program, officially titled Computer and Information Sciences Artificial Intelligence, will be offered at George Washington Carver Center for Arts & Technology, Sollers Point Technical High School, and Western School of Technology and Environmental Science. The program’s inception was the result of Douglas Handy (former coordinator, BCPS CTE) and Dr. Michael Grubbs (current CTE coordinator) pursuing a Maryland State Department of Education CTE Innovation Grant for $150,000. Funds from the 2020 grant were used to develop a curriculum framework, support program advisory council meetings, and purchase items such as robotic dogs that students will eventually program.

“This new artificial intelligence program is an exciting and relevant addition to the diverse academic opportunities we provide for our students,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams. “I applaud Mr. Handy and Dr. Grubbs on their successful efforts to bring this program to BCPS. I also thank our business and higher education partners for contributing to the development of a program that will prepare our students for high-demand careers.”

The program will offer four sequential courses: Artificial Intelligence 1, Advanced Placement Computer Science A, Artificial Intelligence 2, and Artificial Intelligence Capstone. The last course will be optional and include the opportunity for students to engage in on-the-job learning. The program is aligned to Computer Science Teachers Association K-12 standards and Maryland State Department of Education standards for computing. It also is aligned to the recently-created AI4K12 5 Big Ideas.

“Labor market data from the Maryland Workforce Exchange indicates a bright outlook in Baltimore County for positions that rely on artificial intelligence, such as software developers and computer systems engineers,” said Grubbs. “Our Artificial Intelligence Program will be offered as a magnet program of study to balance out the computer science programs that will be in every high school. Adding AI ensures that computer science is available to all students in BCPS.”

The program advisory committee for the AI program is led by Tim Kulp, chief innovation officer, Mind Over Machines. Other members, in addition to Grubbs, are: James Braman, coordinator/associate professor, CCBC; John Chapin, teacher, Academies of Loudoun, VA; Wendy Chin, computer science and IT department chair, CCBC; Dr. Megean Garvin, director of research and assessment, University of Maryland/Maryland Center for Computing Education; Alex Houff, emerging technology specialist, Baltimore County Public Library; Amanda Lattimore, BCPS resource teacher; Dr. Kara Lynch, BCPS supervisor; Dianne O’Grady-Cunniff, director, Maryland Center for Computing Education; Dr. Shimei Pan, associate professor, UMBC; Lisa Reyburn-Payne, teacher at Sollers Point Tech High School; Ed Roberts, outreach and recruitment coordinator, CCBC; Jeremy Sierakowski, teacher at Western School of Technology; and Dr. David Touretzky, chair, AI for K-12 Working Group, Carnegie Mellon University.

Image via Pixabay

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