Central High School Career Magnet Academy is located at 1130 W. Chestnut St, Louisville, KY 40203 and has served the downtown community since 1882. Central began in a time dramatically different from now; a time of separation, inequality, and injustice for many people. In 1870, a group of leading black citizens appealed to the Louisville Board of Education for free schools for their children. The Board of Education opened two buildings in October for educating “children of the Africa race,” to be financed by taxes collected from the black community. Thus began what eventually was to become Central High School. Consequently, Central has a rich history of academic and athletic achievement through many generations, and many students have parents, grandparents, or other family members who attended Central. This results in a deep sense of pride and tradition within the school and surrounding community.
I am blessed to work with a great teaching team. My colleagues and I teach one of the largest STEM magnets in Kentucky. Shawn Canaday has 24 years of experience teaching in Chicago, eastern Kentucky, and Louisville. He is the de facto leader of Central's technology program. He teaches our Adobe and web design curriculum. Chris Brown is one of the district's Python and Raspberry Pi gurus. He has been running around Central for fourteen years. His expertise includes navigating the complexities of wiring our FIRST robots. Dr. Sarah Bumpas came to us from the district to be our resource teacher. She hails from JCPS's Computer Education Support office where she worked as the leader of the middle school digital backpack program and STLP coordinator. We like to think of her as the glue that holds the whole complex thing together, and she was instrumental in our magnet's expansion as a Kentucky STLP school.
The Cyber Engineering pathway is a blend of programming, cyber security, and hardware engineering disciplines. Students will learn to research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components. The NICERC courses in the pathway use project-driven, application-based curricula that engage students at the secondary level. The courses provide a hands-on, context-based approach that empowers teachers to prepare students to become the next generation of engineers and cyber professionals. The coursework explores topics such as robotics, electricity, and security concerns in today’s digital society.
Most experts agree that Artificial Intelligence will radically change the American work force. It is estimated that automation will replace anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of current jobs by 2030. This is nothing new to history: technology has created and eliminated countless jobs in the past, but AI is predicted to accelerate the dynamic. When we changed Central's IT pathway, we decided to move away from computer repair curriculum to one that emphasized coding and design. When you look back at the myriad of changes in the IT fields, computer programming has stood the test of time as a steady job. We feel that our students have to learn how to manipulate the machine.
Best Practice Courses from the Kentucky Department of Education
Choose (4) four credits from the following:
110110 Computer Literacy OR
060112 Digital Literacy
110222 Cyber Literacy I (NICERC)
110223 Cyber Literacy II (NICERC)
110224 Cyber Science (NICERC)
110225 Computer Science (NICERC) 110918 Information Technology Co-Op OR
110919 Information Technology Internship
In 2016 we entered an agreement with the University of Louisville's Speed School of Engineering to create an educational partnership. The school was a critical catalyst in the creation of our makerspace, and it has helped us both financially and academically every year. Speed is the primary sponsor of our robotics teams, and they have provided invaluable equipment for our classrooms. Two advisory engineering students are loaned to us once a week to help guide our students with their various projects. The end goal is for us to feed pre-engineering students to Speed, and many of our students come to Central for that purpose. They are the ideal partner, and we hope that we make them proud.
The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC offers grant-funded cyber, STEM, and computer science curricula and professional development. Their goal is the same as ours, to prepare our students to succeed in the cyber workforce of tomorrow. We use NICERC's curriculum to teach PBASIC programming with BoeBots and LINUX with Raspberry Pis. We are big advocates of the hands-on activities that have been conceived by NICERC. And their training seminars are fantastic! We are also excited about their plans to create a Cybersecurity course. Please sign us up!
Amazon realizes that the United States is in dire need of computer engineers. They provide us with a Python programming course via the Edhesive online platform. We are currently teaching this to our seniors. The use of Python has grown more than any other computer language in the past few years, especially in the field of AI. Since you don't have to have so many semicolons, it is so much easier to teach! Our industry partners have indicated that they wish to hire individuals with coding experience, and Python is one of the preferred skills. We are thankful to Amazon for selecting us as a program school, and we look forward to expanding our partnership with them.
Over the years we have been able to procure four large and two small 3D printers, which are used to teach students the basics of additive manufacturing. We see this as a crucial 21st Century skill. It is estimated that the 3D printing industry has the potential to grow by 25.76% a year! Our students learn how to design elements using Tinkercad. We are in the process of adding a CNC machine to our class so that we can add subtractive manufacturing to our classroom experiences. We would also like to add a CAD class, but we have yet to find a way to procure the necessary software.
We are currently preparing our students for three industry certifications that will benefit them in their careers after high school:
The Internet Core Competency Certification (IC3) is a global benchmark for basic computer literacy, including operating systems, hardware, software, and networks. The CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) is an introduction to basic IT knowledge and skills that helps professionals decide if a career in IT is right for them. And the TestOut PC Pro uses use multiple learning formats to teach students how to install, manage, and secure computer hardware and master home and corporate OS environments.
One of the unique aspects of our magnet is that we rotate each group of students every nine weeks between the three instructors (Brown, Canaday, and Gilbert). The intent is expose our students to as much subject matter as we can. Although we have been blessed with a number of quality STEM education products, most of our inventory is enough for just one class (for instance, we only have so many Boe-Bots). Our rotation allows 87 students per grade level to be involved in all educational aspects of our magnet. We owe much of our team's fluency working together to our administration's focus on quality PLC work.
When we first started our robot club in 2015 there was ten students involved. Today we have over fifty students staying after school for activities. Along with our three VEX Robotics teams and our FIRST FRC team, we have added an eSports team. We are currently the district champions in League of Legends. Last year was the rebirth of our Kentucky STLP program. We were awarded as the best team in the district, and we are getting ready to attend our second state competition. We plan on including other clubs as the opportunities arise.
As part of our project based curriculum, we assign each of our students to design, fabricate, and test a unique project. We've had students come up with some interesting stuff: from remote controlled lawn mowers, to pimped-out robots, to solar power refrigerators. We hold a year end showcase at the end of the year that follows the spirit of the Maker Movement. District, university, and city personnel stop by to see our students' achievements, and they are always amazed. This year we have been recognized by Maker Faire community as an official event. Let the inventing begin!