Washington High School wins app development curriculum

Lest you think there’s nothing good going on at Washington High School — and if you base your opinions on Milwaukee media, you surely might think that — MPS announced today that the West Side high school is one of just 10 U.S. schools chosen to get a mobile app development and entrepreneurship curriculum.

Some of you might recall that another MPS school — Golda Meir — has had success in student-developed apps, too.

Milwaukee Public Schools’ Washington High School of Information Technology is one of only 10 schools across the country — and the only one in the Midwest — selected to receive a mobile application development and entrepreneurship curriculum.

The program was created by the nonprofit National Academy Foundation, along with Lenovo’s Scholar Network.

“We’re honored to be one of 10 schools in the nation to be able to provide our students with this exciting, hands-on opportunity to broaden their knowledge of information technology and strengthen their preparation for college and careers,” said Washington Principal Tonya Adair in a district statement. “This is another important piece in the strong information technology programming our students can access.”

The curriculum will allow Washington students to design and develop a mobile app with with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “App Inventor” developers. The students will also create a business plan for marketing the app.

Lenovo will also donate tablets and laptops to the school to aid in the implementation of the curriculum and in the creation of the app.

Though it still struggles to make the grade on state report cards, in recent years the school — now officially called Washington High School of Information Technology –  has worked hard to turn things around by bringing valuable STEM education and experience to its roughly 750 students via a National Academy Foundation Information Technology Academy.

The academy program includes seven IT courses and partnerships with local business. The academy recently added 90 new students — sophomores — to 138 upperclassmen already taking part.

Partnerships with companies like Northwestern Mutual and Direct Supply — as well as with MPS’ own technology department — have opened doors to internships for Washington students. More than 50 students took advantage of these positions last summer. Local businesses also offer job shadowing opportunities for students at Washington, which hosts an IT and engineering fair twice each year.

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