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Sunday, December 13, 2015

High school opening next school year will teach coding

"High school isn't what it used to be." summarizes Louis Llovio, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, DEC. 14 AND THEREAFTER - In a Nov. 17, 2015 photo, while Brent Michael Peterson, 11, right, of Oak Knoll Middle School and Kate Faulkner, 11, of Stonewall Jackson Middle School watch monitors in the mission control room at the Math Science Innovation Center, educator Jerome Randolph, standing, center, works with other students. Mission control stays in touch with other students who are manning the Challenger Space Station. Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP P. Kevin Morley

That's the consensus of a growing number of educators who say how and what students are taught must change in order to better prepare them for a rapidly changing workforce that demands new skills.

With that goal in mind, a group of 13 area school systems have banded together to start a new regional high school that will allow students to meet their core requirements while getting an education focused on computer science.

The school, now known by the project name Richmond Regional School for Innovation-CodeRVA, is set to open next school year with a class of about 80 ninth-grade students.

The idea is to make sure graduates are better prepared to enter a job market that requires a set of skills not currently taught at schools. Skills, educators say, that are valuable even to students who don't go into the computer science field.

Students at the new regional school will spend their freshmen and sophomore years taking core classes needed for graduation while also taking computer science and technology courses...

The project is looking to fund programs committed to "rethinking and building schools that deeply prepare our students for the rigorous challenges of college, jobs and life."

Photo: Donna Dalton
The local regional school will apply for an XQ grant, said Donna Dalton, chief academic officer for Chesterfield County Public Schools.

Along with the new regional school, local systems already are working to integrate computer science skills into their curriculums and working with outside groups to try to get students interested in technology.

It is part of the large effort underway in education to get all students, beginning as young as kindergarten, comfortable with technology and to teach them the inner workings.

"There are a lot of opportunities that our students are now being exposed to that support the coding curriculum. We're really aggressively trying to build that coding pipeline for students," Dalton said.

At Goochland Middle School on Dec. 4, Capital One volunteers worked with more than a dozen students to finish game apps the students had built over 10 sessions.

The workshop was created to expose students to coding and help pique their interest by teaching them how to create apps for smartphones or tablets.

At the Dec. 4 session, teams of students finalized their projects — which ranged from a game with a problem that had to be solved in five seconds, to truth or dare — before officially unveiling them at an apps fair this week.

Source: Charlotte Observer
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