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Local News

Yorkville District 115 facing issues in keeping AP computer science program afloat

YORKVILLE – One Yorkville High School advanced placement academic program may not be saved as the school year is about to begin.

David Travis, principal for Yorkville High School, said during the Monday, July 29 meeting at Yorkville High School that the high school might not be able to save their AP computer science program, which has 11 students currently enrolled. Travis said there will be one senior affected by that for the coming school year, which begins Aug. 13.

Travis said the high school has had little luck finding the teaching staff needed to keep the program, referencing a job listing for a computer programming and computer science teacher position that was posted July 3, according to the Yorkville School District 115 website.

"We have had zero applicants for the entire summer," Travis said.

Travis said the school was able to get someone to teach AP computer science principals for this semester. In the meantime, he said, a few classes – including web design and computer programming – have been pushed back to be offered next semester.

Troy Courtney, director of human resources for the district, said one of the biggest concerns on hiring and transfers that the district is facing includes trying to build the high school's advanced placement, or AP, computer science program. He said the district actually enacted a part of an employment contract where the district can pay a bonus to someone who brings someone on staff.

“That is a tough position to fill," Courtney said. "There are very few of them out there who are qualified to teach AP computer science.”

Travis said alternatives that are being considered include making affected courses dual-credit with nearby colleges including Waubonsee Community College. He said he has talked to 60 other principals in the area and learned that everyone’s in the same boat.

“And they’re going the dual credit route, because computer science is too hard to maintain with staffing,” Travis said.

Lynn Burks, president of the school board, said she liked what Travis was thinking in taking the dual-credit approach for computer science. She said students often run into the issue of AP computer science credits not transferring for college credit, also.

"They’re actually better in a dual-curriculum program, anyway," Burks said.

Travis said the local community college is very open to the possibility, but it's just a matter of how the sharing of faculty and staff would be worked out. He said the school still is going to try to do everything they can to keep those course offerings open if they don't get a qualified teacher hired by the beginning of the year.

“We’re holding out hope, but we’re getting to the point that we’re preparing for the worst,” Travis said.

• This version of the story was updated to include the correct date of the Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education meeting.

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