Following COVID-19, Virtus Academy Digital Literacy and Computer Science Teacher Bertha Fladger made what she calls a “second chance” decision. Following a 17-year career as a diversity and inclusion professional, she finally pursued her dream of becoming a teacher.
“My daughter is a teacher, and I love telling everyone I followed in her footsteps,” she says.
Fladger taught computer science at Palmetto Middle School in Mullins before landing at Virtus. Here, she teaches keyboarding to students in K-6th grades and computer science to 9-10thgraders. She uses the Coding Without Tears curriculum with our younger students and code.org with our older students.
Although most members of our Power Pack are familiar with computers, in our classes, they learn new skills that build on existing competencies, and every new capability prepares them for a higher level of computer proficiency.
“I always tell my students; don’t think you can’t become the next Bill Gates because you can. Microsoft, Facebook, and many other technology companies started with one or two people and a computer,” she says. “By learning computer science, our students will soon find themselves on the cusp of creating new possibilities.”
The benefits of learning computer science are vast, extending beyond basic technical skills to broader experiences like problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership. In our high school classes, students get a taste of what it feels like to use computing to solve problems that advance our society. They develop problem-solving apps and pitch them, Shark Tank-style, to a panel of judges.
Whether they realize it or not, we’re preparing them to one day pursue jobs at any of the country’s Tech Giants – Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, or use their computer skills for everyday life.“I love what I do,” Fladger adds. “I enjoy pushing our students to grow their skills, think outside the box, and prepare for the future.”