The PiE Blog

High School Teacher Pushes For Advanced Computer Science Classes

High School Teacher Pushes For Advanced Computer Science Classes

Mary Clarke-Miller teaches Encinal High's Multimedia class, a course that covers graphic design, web design, and Filmmaking. Her students learn digital animation, game design, and programming, and are introduced to software like Flash, Maya, BYOB, Unity and Javascript.  

This may sound like a mouthful for students whose schools don’t offer computer science courses. AP Computer Science is offered in only 10% of American high schools – and according to College Board, only 14,517 students took the AP computer science test in 2010, compared to 194,784 students that took the AP calculus test. There is such a shortage of students in computer science courses in high school that Microsoft is sending engineers into schools to encourage the next generation. 

Ms. Miller is pushing for more computer science classes for Encinal High. She believes that science and technology courses are important in high school because “project-based learning and applied theory helps students see the real world applications of core courses like math and physics”. That is essentially the goal of PiE – we strive to allow students to convert theory into practice by using their STEM skills to strategically build a functioning robot. While our team works to fulfill our vision, Ms. Miller and her team is working to fulfill another one: her team is working to bring two Computer Science courses to Encinal High: “Exploring Computer Science” and “CS Principles,” a course also known as “Joy and Beauty of Computing,” developed in UC Berkeley by Professor Dan Garcia. On top of that, they are even developing an after-school engineering class – to build electric go-carts!  

These are exciting steps forward for Encinal that were inspired by its participation in PiE. The discussion about bringing more CS courses to Encinal was spurred after Ms. Miller's students saw a video of the previous Encinal team participating in PiE’s robotic competition. We hope to continue inspiring and encouraging students and teachers in STEM fields.


  1. Rob van Herk on 01/24/2013 10:10 a.m. #

    I agree with the importance of real world applications. Finding a balance is important, but with an 8th grader at home, I see how students who are able to dig into technology, often will be stimulated to also focus on math and language.

  2. Steve on 01/30/2013 8:27 a.m. #

    It comes as no surprise that there is a shortage of students in CS degree programs. The last 8 years have proven that this skill can easily become a commodity shipped off location to the lowest bidders around the globe. In the wake of an Intel and AMD price war, consumers have been taught that computers are not worth repairing. If there is a future for any CS degree program long term. It will be focused on fostering new innovation and out of the box thinking again.

  3. Icreon on 03/28/2013 3:47 a.m. #

    It's the good efforts for new worlds. because today's computer science varying day by day, So we have to update our knowledge. improvement is need for every sector like animation, web design web development etc.

  4. Marble Tops on 04/07/2013 9:50 p.m. #

    Developing career in CS will give you high paying job. It offers degrees like diploma,, etc.

  5. george on 01/09/2014 3:22 a.m. #

    Computer education should be developed among the students to build up their knowledge about IT and they can get Jobs for them.
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