While the city’s Department of Education is considering massive cuts at Grover Cleveland HS in Ridgewood, the school’s students have made the cut in an exclusive national search held by the second-largest PC company in the world.
The school’s Academy of Information and Technology is one of five groups in the United States chosen by Lenovo, manufacturer of Android Tablets, and the National Academy Foundation for a 12-week course in the design and creation of mobile applications, or apps, for computers.
Andrew Woodbridge, who has taught technology at the school for seven years, said his 40 students will receive regular class credit, and that Lenovo has both created the curriculum and invested tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment for the training.
“They’ll design apps that could become available commercially,” Woodbridge said. “So they will learn the technical skills but also things like the business aspects. This is really big.”
Woodbridge and Principal Denise Vittor said Lenovo, with a vested interest in having future workers with cutting-edge training, reached out to NAF for help in finding schools. NAF runs academies nationally, including 35 in New York City in areas such as information technology, finance, and hospitality and tourism.
The other high schools chosen are in Apex, NC; Los Angeles; Hartford, Conn. and Waco, Tex. Colleen Devery, an assistant vice president at NAF, said the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also is involved.
And she said Grover Cleveland was not selected by accident.
“We chose schools that we knew could handle the program,” she said.
She said if the pilot is as successful as they are anticipating, there could be 100 such programs in the future.
Students and officials gathered for a small reception last Tuesday to celebrate Cleveland’s inclusion.
Student Bevnote Gerges apologized for stumbling over a word or two in his introductory remarks.
“I’m not nervous about giving a speech” he said. “I’m excited about this program.”
Students Elizabeth Paulino and Nita Durakovic said students will have great latitude in the design and even subject matter.
Both are looking forward to the entire process from writing the codes to seeing the finished product.
Paulino, ironically, said she would like to design an app that keeps people from becoming intellectually lazy because of computers and technology.
“They can dumb people down,” she said.
Durakovic has an eye on finance and money management.
“Particularly with today’s economy,” she said.
“You will have skills other people don’t,” Vittor told her students. “You will be on the cutting edge”