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About the Institution

Damascus High School is located in the suburban community of Damascus, MD, USA which lies approximately an hour from both Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. As a public institution it serves approximately 1,420 students and growing. The diverse community represents approximately 8.3% African American, 5.1% Asian, 11.9% Hispanic, and 74.3% Caucasian. Over 76% of the student population is in Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The school consistently ranks in the top 25th percentile within its district (Montgomery County Public Schools) in standardized testing. Use these resources for more information on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), High School Assessment (HSA) Data, or School Demographics.

Damascus HS is a member of the National Academy Foundation (NAF) (http://naf.org) which allows Damascus to offer an Academy of Information Technology (AOIT). The AOIT Academy at DHS is a small learning community offering students three track choices: Computer Maintenance, Web Design, or Programming. A track allows students to enroll in a four year program of study in their track of choice. Each school year the students take a single course which either builds knowledge or builds upon prior knowledge. Students apply to the AOIT Academy as freshman and, pending acceptance, choose their program of study.

The DHS AOIT Web Design Track offers four courses that introduce students to the career of Web Design and Development and prepares them to excel as college students or young professionals entering the workforce. Those courses are Website Development, Advanced Web Tools and Digital Media, Database Administration, a paid internship, and culminated with an on-site college course in Computer Technologies. These courses are required for AOIT Web Track students but also open to enrollment by any student from the common population. By completing this four year program the students earn the following:

  • Recognition during graduation
  • College Credits from a local community college, Montgomery College (The exact amount of credits depends upon the exact path and specific courses taken. This can range from 3 credits to as much as 18 credits.)
  • Good standing with a community institution having worked over 120 hours of paid time apprenticing technology skills

The DHS AOIT Web Design Track is also a World Organization of Webmasters Affiliate Institution.

Pilot Program Goals

The Damascus High School AOIT Academy Web Design Track maintains these goals:

  • Properly prepare students as young web professionals utilizing technologies and standards that reflect the industry
  • Connect the professional community to the classroom to enhance students knowledge of professions and job skills within the field
  • Instructors maintain constant growth as industry professionals and industry facilitators

Inclusion of InterAct Curriculum

The program at DHS currently incorporates the following courses from the InterAct Curriculum:

  • WI-F100 Internet Fundamentals
  • WI-FED100 Web Design 1
  • WI-FED110 Web Design 2
  • WI-FED130 Accessibility
  • WI-FED200 DOM Scripting 1
  • WI-FED300 Findability
  • WI-D100 Digital Design Production
  • WI-PP200 Internship

Materials from these courses are included in the following DHS AOIT Web Track courses: Website Development, Advanced Web Tools and Digital Media, and the paid Internship. Similarly, portions of the Opera Web Standards Curriculum are included in these courses, whether directly or indirectly.

Future Plans

The DHS AOIT Academy is looking to expand and enhance its program. Through various advertising venues Academy officials wish to increase student enrollment. If possible, future courses that would be beneficial to the preparatory program of young web professionals will be included as materials expand in the above cited resources. The program will continue to forge stronger connections with local web professionals by bringing in guest speakers and offering field trips.

The program is working to formalize a mentorship program that would connect a single student to a single web professional for the duration of each course. The web professional would be encouraged to offer feedback and advice on classroom assignments to the students. Ideally, this would culminate with a on-site job shadow session.

With growing support and awareness for web design education through the work of OWEA, WaSP, WOW, and the W3C, the DHS AOIT Web Design Track hopes to continually enhance its program in order to create more highly qualified web professionals.

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