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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Maxine Erickson, 13, left, and her lab partner Chloe Josien, 15, right, get some help from instructor Sam Wright writing computer code at the University of Utah Computer Science GREAT camp. The camp is aimed at elementary through high school students. Five years ago it started with 30 participants. This year, it has drawn about 500 students interested in making graphics, robots and computer programs, showing a surge in kids' interest in programming. The camp is backed in part by software companies Microsoft and Nvidia.
Changes to Utah school computer science coming
First Published Jun 06 2014 01:45 pm • Last Updated Jun 09 2014 10:26 pm

Utah high school students will soon have more flexibility when it comes to computer science classes.

The state school board voted Friday to allow high school students to replace a required half credit introductory computer class with other computer classes if they choose. It also voted to allow kids to count more advanced computer science classes toward their science class requirements to graduate.

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The changes come in response to complaints from some that the currently required computer science class is too basic for many students.

Brenda Hales, state deputy superintendent, said the state office will work with school districts to determine when to put the changes in place.

The decisions are among the first made by the state school board as it discusses revamping the state’s high school graduation requirements. The board is considering allowing two routes to high school graduation — one that’s similar to current requirements and another that would have students focus their electives on specific goals.

The board voted Friday to continue to study those broader changes in hopes of presenting changes to lawmakers next legislative session.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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