Santa Barbara High Computer Science Academy Draws National Support

By Leslee Goodman

Richard Johnston, director of the Santa Barbara High School Computer Science Academy, announced that the Academy has won recent grant awards from technology retail giant Best Buy and LogMeIn, one of the world’s top 10 public SaaS companies. The Best Buy award will support the Academy’s extensive extracurricular programming, while the award from LogMeIn will underwrite the Academy’s Girls Who Code offerings.

“We’re thrilled to continue to earn the tech industry’s financial support,” Johnston said. “Best Buy’s grant will help us pay for computer science field trips, as well as our afterschool activities like the Robotics Club.  The LogMeIn grant will specifically underwrite our outreach to girls. We’re very proud of the fact that, in our five-year history, the Academy’s female enrollment has grown to 27% and that girls make up a significant percentage of students in our computer-assisted art and design courses, as well as our art and design summer camps.”

The donors seem equally delighted with the arrangement.

“Technology know-how is crucial for young people preparing to enter the job market for the first time,” the Best Buy website explains. “Nearly 80% of jobs over the next decade will require tech skills. We are committed to giving underserved teens hands-on access to the tech education and tools they need to be prepared for the tech-reliant jobs of the future. That’s why we partner with local and regional nonprofits” like the SBHS Computer Science Academy.

Amy Wendel, global head of corporate social responsibility at LogMeIn said, “Santa Barbara High School’s Computer Science Academy is a perfect match for Mission Possible, LogMeIn’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program, which supports access to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) educational programs, develops youth digital skills, and aims to close the diversity and achievement gap in tech. Girls Who Code achieves all three.” (Mission Possible by LogMeIn’s grant was made through a company-advised fund at The Boston Foundation.)

SBHS’s Computer Science Academy was founded in 2013 in response to the glaring gap between the workforce need for computer science competence and the absence of CS coursework in the community. It is grounded in the philosophy that all students should be exposed to computer science because CS skills are necessary in the modern workforce. It is an “open academy,” which means that any interested student may enroll in one or more CS classes, whether or not they commit to the full program, which offers coursework paths in Art and Design, Web Design, Java Developer, and Elementary Developer. These can lead to an Intermediate Developer Certificate or a Master of Code Certificate.

Since its founding, the CS Academy has provided core competence in computer science to more than 500 SBHS students. For more information about the SBHS Computer Science Academy, visit the Academy website at


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