Our increased emphasis on fluency in a second language dovetails nicely with the second significant introduction to our curriculum. This past year marked the initial year of the Horace G. Fralin Program for Global Studies at North Cross School. Under the leadership of Mark Thompson and Robert Robillard, this new program established an aggressive academic track for upper school students wishing to examine our role in an interconnected world. More than new course offerings, the Global Studies Program raised the level of intellectual conversation across the upper school. Speaker series, public interest blogs, community service opportunities, Harvard Model United Nations, and international travel all have a higher profile on our campus as a direct result of our emphasis on global studies.
Connectivity among nations and a vast warehouse of information are realities of the world our students will inherit as adults. We made great strides in adding technology to our classrooms, additions that will allow our teachers and students to fully access the Internet and to use its accumulated knowledge in the classroom. Last year, we raised more than $300,000 in our mini-campaign for classroom technology. We made the move to iPads and electronic texts in the upper school and will extend this to the middle school in the upcoming school year. Admittedly, we have only scratched the surface but the effects of this new technology on our teaching and learning were incredible.
This coming year will see the continued emphasis on foreign language, global studies, and added technology in the classroom, but we will also take our initial steps in the area of computer science. Partnering with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech University, our students will learn to attack novel problems by creatively using technology. Initially focused on the middle school, we will rapidly move to a four-year sequence of computer programming at the upper school level. Simply put, we will teach our students to write computer code, a skill identified by Bill Gates as the most important thing a school can teach a child growing up in the 21st century.
It is really good to look back at what we accomplished to place it in the bigger picture of growth at North Cross School. We recognize that our students must be prepared for an entirely different world, one in which they will need to make their own road, not just follow one that is less travelled. Our vision of North Cross is that of a global student, technologically savvy, possessing a broad knowledge base, and the communication skills necessary to put that knowledge base to work. This past year showed us all the capacity of our faculty and staff to make great strides in a short amount of time and I get excited about what our collective future holds.
Enjoy your summer and rest up for our future.