Georgia Tech’s Constellations Center Provides a Pathway for Computer Science Education in Majority of APS High Schools

Student working on computing project.
August 9, 2019
Communications Officer

For the second year, the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech will partner with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to bring computer science education to the district.

APS, with schools only a few miles from Georgia Tech’s campus, serves one of the most marginalized communities in the state. Nearly 75% of its students are on free or reduced lunch and 72% of its population identify as black.

Constellations’ mission is to ensure that all students – especially students of color, women, and others underserved in K-12 and post-secondary institutions – have access to quality computer science education, a mission that has led to a strong partnership between the institute and the district.

“Working with Constellations has been amazing. One great thing is that they care about our kids, and the kids know that they care. They know that it won’t always be easy, but that hard work pays off and we are all here to help them succeed,” said Sakiya Franklin Jones, STEM Coordinator at Douglass High School.

Last year, Constellations partnered with five of the ten APS high schools and taught Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) to over 150 students. In 2019-20, the center will collaborate with eight high schools and will offer both AP CSP and AP CSA across the eight schools.

Both courses will be available at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Grady High School, and South Atlanta High School. Drew Charter School, Jackson High School, North Atlanta High School, and Mays High School will only offer AP CSP, and Douglass High School will only offer AP CSA.

The new schools include North Atlanta High School, South Atlanta High School, and Maynard Jackson High School.

Together with Code HS, the center will offer the two courses along with extensive professional development for the course teachers through a hybrid online-instructional model. Teachers and administrators are also supported by one of the center’s fellows.

“We’re looking forward to another great year of partnering with APS. These kids are so talented and are hungry for the challenges that computing offers them. By offering computing courses at the high school level, we’re hoping many of them will go on to study computing at the post-secondary level, leading them to a bright future,” said Lien Diaz, Constellations director of educational innovation and leadership.

So far, Constellations has an impressive track record with five students from last year’s classes going on to major in computer science, one of them at Georgia Tech.