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Computer Science Prep

The Francis Tuttle Computer Science Academy is designed to prepare high school students for success in colleges of computer science.
Computer Science Prep

A student works on a lesson in the Francis Tuttle Computer Ccience Academy

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Francis Tuttle Computer Science Academy

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Show Details

Show 1650: Computer Science Prep
Air Date: December 11, 2016


Rob McClendon: Computers are something most of us come into contact with on a daily basis, whether they be on our desktop or on our smart phones. And while they are completely integrated in how we live, most of us don’t have a clue how they work. Our Timothy Cole takes us to a new academy where students are learning the language of computer science.

Timothy Cole: Welcome to the Smash room. It may not be their typical classwork, but the students seen here of the Francis Tuttle Computer Science Academy are putting their lessons to good use.

Shane Martin: As far as this goes, this is the first computer science academy, that I know of, in the state, possibly one of few just nationwide, and for that matter we are literally just trying to address an academic deficiency.

Timothy: Instructor Shane Martin sees the lessons being taught in his classroom as necessary and important.

Martin: There’s a lot of schools that don’t offer very much in the way of computer programming, computer sciences, computer engineering. So here at Francis Tuttle we’re literally trying to hit that or to meet that need.

Timothy: And fellow instructor Heather Voss agrees with him.

Heather Voss: There’s pre-engineering academies, biomedical science academies, they have all gone on to huge things, and I expect the same from our students.

Timothy: The Francis Tuttle Computer Science Academy is designed with high school students in mind to prepare them for college level work. Rigorous math and science courses are combined with computer science related classes as students gain the academic knowledge and skills needed for success in college.

Martin: We are giving them basically college rigor classes. All of our course work is either pre-AP or AP level, and so at that point they’re taking the same type of courses, the same type of curriculum, same type of rigor, that they would see in a college course. And by doing so we are giving some of their basic education in science and math anywhere from a pre-AP geometry all the way up to AP calculus. Same thing in the sciences. We are looking at pre-AP chemistry all the way through AP physics.

Timothy: While geometry is nothing new to a high school class, here all coursework is geared toward computer science and programming.

Nick Gonzalez: For example in precalc we’re learning about matrices and how to manipulate them and so Ms. Voss made the comparison that matrices in math are like pretty much identical to arrays in programming. And so we can use the skills we learn in math on how to manipulate matrices over in programming when we are working with arrays.

Timothy: If all that sounds a little foreign to you, you probably aren’t alone, but to Nick Gonzalez, Jeffrey Ran, Andy Frels and their fellow students at the Computer Science Academy, it all seems to come second nature.

Jeffrey Ran: The classes that they have, not just the engineering classes, but also the math and science classes, are geared with engineering and computer science in mind, which I feel would give me a better footing for college and a career.

Timothy: Many students come to the academy seeking an academic challenge, while others are drawn in because computer science has always been a part of their life.

Andy Frels: Well, my dad does it, so I looked into it a little bit, but I learned that it’s a growing field, a field that has a lot of potential and a lot of companies are undersaturated because they’re not updated enough so they need computer scientists, and it’s a well-paying job now.

Timothy: While all these students may be from different school districts, they are brought together by a joint interest in computers.

Frels: Because it’s such a small class, we’ve been able to get to know each other better. You talk more, you get to know each other more. You can help each other out more because it’s more of a similar crowd.

Ran: It is the smallest academy. We’ve got, say, 30 kids total, and so I feel like that bond is a lot stronger between all of us.

Voss: One of the things that is unique about an academy setting is that students come to us from multiple schools, and all of these students have common interests so they’re not in classes with students who aren’t interested in what their interests are. So you’ll have students from Deer Creek, students from various schools in Edmond that are all in the same classes, and they find that they have common interests together.

Timothy: Which brings us back to the Smash room. Super Smash Brothers is a video game that’s been around for many years, but its newest release on Nintendo’s 3Ds and Wii consoles gave the students some inspiration.

Gonzalez: We all already played Super Smash Brothers. on our 3DSes. So we were bringing those to the academy. The game is also for the Wii U. We thought if we had one here then, like, over half of us could play at the same time. So a couple of the students, one of them brought a TV, one of them brings his Wii U and the game, and so we just put it in the empty room Mr. Martin had that he wasn’t using, and, yeah, we play Smash before class and during break.

Timothy: So whether the kids are having fun or learning hard, instructor Shane Martin says the point of the academy is to prepare these students for their next big adventure after high school.

Martin: Really the goal here is to kind of give them a base, literally, to every student. Whether it be in chemistry, physics, C-Sharp, python, HTML, whatever the case may be, we’re not really going to make a student a master at any one thing, but it is to give them a very broad base for which they can make decisions and be, I guess, fully prepared for the next step.

Rob: Now, if you’d like to learn more about this profession, we do have a link to OK Career Guide on our website at

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