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City Readies New High School for Telecommunications Arts

January 19, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ A new city high school scheduled to open in September aims at producing electronically literate graduates - a generation that will log on to a word processor as casually as its grandparents licked a pencil tip.

The school, in Brooklyn, will be called the High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology.

″Essentially, it will be a technology infusion high school, where the use of computers and electronic media arts will be an integral part of studies across the curriculum,″ said Gloria Rakovic, the project director.

″Computers will be used in the social studies class, a video studio will be used in the science classes, a radio studio in remedial reading,″ she said.

The idea will be to produce students who can use the equipment as tools, not to turn out engineers or electronics whizzes.

″They are going to know applications of the equipment, what can be done, what are the possibilities,″ said Miss Rakovic.

The new school replaces Bay Ridge High School, one of the last two all-girl high schools in the city public school system, and the 70-year-old building currently is being renovated for the ″theme school.″

Theme schools are a concept introduced a few years ago as an alternative to traditional comprehensive district high schools. Some theme schools already established in the city specialize in the humanities, business careers, classical education and nursing. Others proposed would revolve around finance and journalism.

They differ from the city’s special high schools, such as Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, which cast a net citywide for the most gifted children and cull them by competitive exam. The theme schools are open to all students in the borough where the school is located, on a first-come basis.

Telecommunications will strive for equal numbers of boys and girls and a racial breakdown of 50 percent minorities if that can be achieved from among applicants, said Miss Rakovic.

She said 20 percent of the applicants so far have been parochial school children, ″youngsters who had turned away from what’s been offered in public schools.″

There will be 300 freshmen in the entering class and the school will build to an 1,100-to-1,200 enrollment in four years.

To train and guide the teachers, the school seeks a commitment from a technical advisory board drawn from local universities and from such telecommunications companies as New York Telephone, American Telephone & Telegraph and Nippon Electronics Corp.

″We’re looking for a loan of people from the industries as trainers and in seminars and work sessions,″ she said. ″We want the staff to be 100 percent computer competent, so there’ll be in-house training. That prospect is very appetizing to the teachers.″

The school’s students will have to meet the same state standards as any other candidates for academic diplomas, by completing requirements in English, math, science, history and foreign language.

The tools will include more than 140 word processors, 32 in each of three word-processing classrooms and 16 each in three computer labs.

There also will be a video studio with seven cameras, lights, video editing consoles, a radio studio, a computer graphics lab and an electronics lab with digital, microwave and fundamental circuitry equipment, Miss Rakovic said.

″We envision that all the youngsters, by the time they graduate, will have absolute competence in word processing, that they can go out and perform that marketable skill,″ she said.

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