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Kerr brings new life to BR’s Comp Sci program

Computer Science Teacher Jeremy Kerr leads his students. Photo by Zach Fink

Jeremy Kerr, Bear River’s Head Junior Varsity Football coach and previous long-term substitute, is returning to Bear River to teach Computer Science as a full-time teacher for the 2018-19 school year.

Last year, Exploring Computer Science and AP Computer Science Principles were both kept afloat solely by Mr. Kerr, who acted as a substitute teacher for both classes. He took over after the previous teacher, Jason Bohrer, was faced with charges of domestic violence, and went on unpaid leave. This left the Computer Science program without a lead teacher on campus. Over the summer, Mr. Kerr went to great lengths to return to Bear River this year as the official teacher on record.

Last year was my first opportunity to teach Computer Science as a long term substitute,” said Mr. Kerr. “I loved the project-based and active learning format of the classes, and went to multiple professional developments over the summer in order to better understand the pathway.”

Many incoming freshmen are taking Mr. Kerr’s ECS class, which teaches them the fundamentals of Computer Science. So far, they said that they are learning quite a bit.

“So far, we’ve learned how computer and human interaction works, and soon we’ll be moving on to problem solving,” said junior Sebastian Carranza, a member of Mr. Kerr’s ECS class.

Furthermore, several upperclassmen who’ve taken Mr. Bohrer’s computer classes in the past are returning to Mr. Kerr’s AP class. Senior Ethan Brassfield commented on what the AP class has learned so far.

“It has given me a good insight into how computers and technology work as a whole,” he said. “Mr. Kerr is funny and can make anything interesting.”

Brassfield also talked about if there was a big difference between the ways Mr. Bohrer and Mr. Kerr taught Computer Science.

“Not really, in my eyes,” he said.

Mr. Kerr gave his own view on how his different classes have been going.

“The classes have been going great so far,” he said. “AP CS Principles has been … learning about machine language, sending messages over a wire, and the foundations of the internet. The AP CSA course (JAVA) is flying along as well. The students help one another and they are learning an actual computer language.”

Mr. Kerr described the lengthy process he went through to become a teacher.

Becoming certified to teach full time is quite a process,” said Mr. Kerr. “You need to graduate college, pass the subject specific CSET test, take multiple credential classes, pass 4 TPA’s (teacher performance assessments), and complete student teaching. Even when that’s all complete, you have to take a ‘Teacher Induction’ class for two years to earn a ‘Clear Credential.’”

This change in faculty came as a pleasant surprise to many members of the Bear River Tennis team that Mr. Kerr also co-coaches. Everybody who knew him was very happy to learn that he had become a teacher.

“Mr. Kerr is amazing,” said junior and tennis player Ian Hayes. “… I wish I got into his class.” 

This development in Bear River’s Computer Science program opens up many opportunities for students looking to enter into a computer-related field, or just for people interested in learning more about technology. As Mr. Kerr said, “There are over 70,000 open computer jobs in California alone. … This is a great career pathway.”

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Kerr brings new life to BR’s Comp Sci program