Education

Richland 2 opens new magnet school for computer science

When Sandlapper Elementary School students return to class next Wednesday, they will have another topic added to the curriculum: computer coding.

That’s because Sandlapper will now include the Computer Science Immersion School, a magnet school, for students who want them to get a leg up on learning how to write computer code, according to a press release from the district.

All students at the magnet school, located at 1001 Longtown Road E in northern Columbia, will receive at least 60 minutes of computer science education per week, according to the press release.

Magnet schools specialize in teaching students in certain topic areas such as arts, science and engineering. Richland 2 currently has 34 magnet schools, which include Montessori schools, International Baccalaureate schools and more.

While some magnet schools act as specialized departments within a school, the Computer Science Immersion School is a school-wide program, meaning that everyone who attends Sandlapper will participate in the program, Richland 2 spokeswoman Ishmael T. Abdus-Saboor said.

Those eligible to attend the school include those zoned for Sandlapper. Others who want to attend can apply and are entered into a lottery, where they are chosen at random, Abdus-Saboor said.

The school said it was adding this magnet program in response to an increasing demand in the job market for computer scientists, particularly in cloud computing, big data and cybersecurity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between 2016 and 2026, over 550,000 jobs will open for computer scientists, bureau data show.

Computer science jobs also pay well. The median pay for “computer and information technology occupations” was $86,320 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Parents who want to learn more can do the following, per the press release

  • Call the school at 803-691-4045
  • Attend Richland 2 Choice Fair at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 3, 2019, at 763 Fashion Drive in Columbia
  • Attend a magnet information meeting at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 13, 2020, at Sandlapper
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