Who said there is no tech or innovation going on at Terra Linda High School (TL)? In fact, TL is going through a digital and tech revolution!
This Fall, we are excited to announce that Academic Excellence will be launching TL Innovation Lab, an umbrella lunch time enrichment program that incorporates coding, making, and digital media. Only a year and a half ago, TL was very much like many high schools with no computer science classes or tech curriculum reflecting a national trend in lack of student interest. TL was also victim of the financial downturn which severely limited the district's ability to add new classes and upgrade infrastructure. In less than 2 years, we are now able to offer lunch time enrichment with more depth and relevance to our students.
In 2013, former Principal Lars Christen told parents that it would be “impossible” to add new classes in computer science or find the Edtech talent within the financial constraints of a “Basic 8” school. In 2014, Academic Excellence (a parent volunteer group that advocates, supports, and develops enrichment programs at TL) reached out to build partnerships with TL administration, San Rafael City Schools (SRSC), and tech-focused companies to help launch TLCoding Lab -- a “startup" lunchtime enrichment program to provide online computer science instruction to all students. CodeHS was the primary community partner, launching the program through a generous donation of their online computer science instruction and mentorship. TLCoding Lab grew quickly and organically through student advocacy and enthusiasm, helping to shape access and build pathways to computer science at TL. TLCoding Lab has expanded from once a week enrichment to 3 days a week or enrichment programs to create more depth in learning through hands-on projects in applied computer science and digital media at our new Innovation Lab.
TL Innovation Lab includes a new Maker Lab and a new Media Lab along with TLCoding Lab to offer more time for students to learn, collaborate, and innovate. A recent gift by Hermes Econometrics gave seed money to start the Maker Lab and Guest Mentor Program to facilitate project based learning in computer science and digital media at TL. The TL Media Lab is lead by Lisa Cummings, a Graphic Design Teacher at TL, who plans to work with our other programs to apply learning in graphic design to computer science projects. The Maker Lab will be headed by a Guest Mentor, an industry professional who will teach hands-on projects to make learning more dynamic for our students.
TL Innovation Lab will continue to attract top tech industry professionals and community partners who have supported our fledgling programs. Lisa Seacat Deluca, IBM’s Master Inventor and MIT’s Top Innovator Under 35, was one of the first tech leaders to encourage our students to bridge the gender gap in technology by advocating for more females and diversity in computer science. Deluca tweeted, “I love what you [TLCoding Lab] are doing and …wish I had something like it when I was in high school.” Roger Ruttiman, Vice President of Technology & Engineering at Dorsal, will be our first Guest Mentor teaching our students how to make really cool stuff to showcase at the Maker Faire 2017!
TLCoding Lab grew quickly and organically through student advocacy and enthusiasm, helping to shape access and build pathways to computer science at TL. TL Innovation Lab is a direct result of the positive outcomes of TLCoding Lab. Student advocacy, along with our deep partnerships with Principal Katy Dunlap, SRCS, and community partners, has opened conversations to support technology upgrades, infrastructure improvements, and new paths for learning in digital Tech. This year, TL received district funding for badly needed upgrades and also added two Advanced Placement Computer Science classes and an Advanced Graphic Design class. Last year, TL Coding Lab organized a screening and discussion with Robin Hauser Reynolds, Director, “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap in Technology in partnership with California Film Institute, Mill Valley Film Festival. Coordinating funding for busses to include students from San Rafael High School, Davidson, and Miller Creek Middle School, TL Coding Lab expanded its reach district-wide.
TLCoding Lab is leading the way in Computer Science!” tweeted Mary Jane Burke, Superindent of Schools Marin County Office of Education at the Summerfest Celebration 2016. TL Innovation Lab continues to evolve and innovate in bringing computer science and digital media instruction to all students at TL and beyond. #CSforallstudentsatTL!