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Magnet school earns top honors

By Juliet Leyba Daily Planet Staff
Monday November 06, 2000

Despite undergoing a $14 million three-year renovation, officials at a Berkeley technology magnet school announced Friday that it received two prestigious honors. 

The Longfellow Arts and Technology Magnet School was one of three middle schools in the world to be nominated to compete for the Smithsonian Award, the most prestigious technology award in the United States. Computer science students will also participate in the Association of Computing Machinery conference and exhibition scheduled for March 2001 in San Jose, according to Dr. Nancy Elnor, technology coordinator and instructor.  

“It’s wonderful to be recognized. It’s taken a long time to build this program and we’re hoping this will lead to more opportunities for our students,” Elnor said.  

The announcement was made at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s new state-of-the-art computer labs, library, gymnasium, administration building, classrooms and renovated auditorium and cafeteria.  

Students will participate in the ACM conference — dubbed ACM1 — which will explore ways to inspire students and teachers to pursue math, science, and technology careers.  

“I’m thrilled we’re getting schools for the Bay Area involved,” Dave Kasik, ACM1 Exposition Chair said. “We can’t use cloning to keep up the momentum. We have to inspire new generations.” 

The students will demonstrate the principles of object-oriented programming, a program language that organizes information into portable objects, for more than 100,000 members expected at the conference.  

Longfellow is the first middle school to be chosen for the event and will be demonstrating alongside Alan Kay, the father of object-oriented programming, and students from the University of California at Los Angeles. 

Students and faculty are also busily getting ready for the Smithsonian competition. 

“We are currently awaiting the case study kit and plan on enlisting all 85 of our computer science students in the process,” Elnor said. 

If the school wins the award, their case study will become part of the Smithsonian’s permanent Information Age collection. 

Longfellow Arts and Technology Magnet School is currently the national test bed for Technology Learning magazine’s annual software award, home of the National Model Technology Middle School project and Sun Microsystem’s official world-wide site for Java education for young people. 

“Thirteen years ago we decided to build this program,” Elnor said. “And now, we’re doing technology big time.”