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Toppenish high school kicks off TechStart computer science program

Toppenish high school kicks off TechStart computer science program

TOPPENISH, Wash. - As one of the first school districts in the state to have a K-12 computer science program, Toppenish kicked off the TechStart program for the region.

The program is a Facebook education initiative that is bringing computer science into high school learning.

Jay Borenstein with Facebook said it's about breaking the perception of computer science and incorporating it into other subjects such as biology, music and even sports.

"It's everywhere and one of the first perceptions we wanted to work on is the idea that computer science might not be what you think," Borenstein said. "It might actually be for you, more than you realize that it is."

Shannon Thissen is a computer science program supervisor with OSPI, that gives out the computer science grants.

She said they are trying to get virtual reality programs in 140 schools across the state. She said TechStart is a great opportunity for students in Washington.

"Benefits for our students is you're going to create this technology, you're going to create the VR (virtual reality)," Thissen said. "We're not users, we're going to be creators."

Students such as sophomore Miryam Garibaldo said she enjoys the classes due to the hands-on learning.

"It's really interesting, it shows you many things," Garibaldo said. "It's not just building stuff, it's also a lot of things you have to put into it like a little bit of math and there's a little bit of everything."

Toppenish junior Carlos Briseno said he finds it easier to fix things with this new knowledge.

"It has helped me learn how certain robots today and things like that work," Briseno said. "Instead of just like thinking they just go in there, build it and that's it."

Toppenish kicked off the program on Wednesday, but 16 other high schools in the region are implementing the tech start program. Schools participating in the program receive a laptop computer, set of virtual reality googles and an online curriculum for students to explore virtual reality.

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