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Student How-To Guides

HOW-TO… Identify new opportunities for students interested in taking technology courses.

To graduate from high school and prepare for college and the workforce, you have to master skills in math, science, social studies, and literature and writing. A well-rounded student might also have strengths in at least one foreign language, art, music, dance, and potentially other subject areas. Your school works hard to make sure you have access to courses that meet all students' needs.

Let's say, however, that you are interested in taking more courses that focus on technology and your school does not offer up-to-date courses? This How-To Guide will recommend three different options just for you!


Problem and Proposal
What is your problem? What is your proposal?

Problem: I want to keep up with the latest technology so I can be competitive in college and in the work force.
Proposal: Identify new opportunities for students interested in taking technology courses.

Print out this worksheet to collect your ideas and your research for your action proposal.



What reasons support your goal? Some examples might include:

  • Technology courses help prepare students for future careers in technology fields.
  • Students today want to be prepared for advanced courses in college.
  • Students today want to be competitive for the work force of tomorrow.
  • There is enough of an interest in our school to support adding new courses.
  • Online classes make it easy to make new courses available.

What is your school's technology plan? Can you show how your idea supports your school or district’s plan for technology?

Read about school technology plans.



For this proposal, your three big questions are going to be (1) "What courses should be offered to students at my school?" (2) "How much student interest is there for adding courses in technology subjects?" and (3) "What are the options for how to make these courses available to students at my school?"

(1) What courses should be offered to students at my school? Research other high school course offerings to get some ideas. Some examples include:

  • HTML, DHTML and Scripting
  • Working the Web
  • Business Systems and Technology
  • Computer Programming Basic
  • AP Computer Science

(2) How much student interest is there for adding courses in technology subjects? Organize a campaign to find out your classmates' interest in enrolling in technology courses. Share the list of course titles you have collected and collect signatures of students who are very interested. It is likely that you will need to have a certain number of interested students to justify the cost of adding a course at your school.

(3) What are the options for how to make these courses available to students at my school? There are three possibilities that you should look into.

  • Adding a course at your school
  • Add the option of Distance Learning or online courses through companies such as Apex Learning
  • Take a course at a local community college.

Look up resources in Technology & Learning to find out about some online high school courses and to research how other schools have approached this same problem.

Browse the SVRC Success Stories for advice from the student community.


What issues do you need to consider when adding courses at your school?

Read about issues to consider when suggesting change.


Details of your proposal

What is your proposal? Now that you’ve identified your goals and completed your research, write a summary of your proposal. Write up a brief outline that summarizes your problem, proposal, rationale, and research. Summarize how many students are interested and in which courses. Describe any online or community college options and describe the option that you like best.


Think about groups and individuals who would be willing to support your idea. Some examples may include individual teachers, student clubs, your school’s PTA, the student government, service clubs, and local business groups. Try to think of a group that would have an interest in volunteering some time to help you organize or support the computer lab.

Share your research and your proposal and see if these groups are willing to support you as a volunteer, a mentor, or even just adding their word of support to your idea.

7. Make a presentation

A successful presentation summarizes your proposal, your rationale, and your research. This is what you are going to use to convince the decision-makers to support you.

Review the worksheet of what should be in your action proposal.
8. Set up a meeting
Write a letter, make a phone call, or send an email to set up a meeting with decision-makers to present your idea. Your letter should include an introduction of your proposal and a polite request for a time when you can share your idea. Explain that you have done research and have a proposal to share with them regarding adding technology courses to the school curriculum.

Who makes decisions about the school curriculum?

Read a who’s who of school decision makers.
8. Present Your Action Proposal: This is your chance to show what you know. Remember, you want to be convincing and likeable. If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, you are prepared with good research and support for your ideas. Your job now is to present your proposal and gain support from decision-makers.

Have you had success with adding opportunities for students to take technology courses at your school? Please submit your Success Story or email any feedback about this module to You are a star!

What YOU Said:

(Student Quotes from NetDay's 2004 Speak Up Day survey)

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