Code/Interactive and Mission EDC join forces with school district
Students at Mission Consolidated Independent School District’s Rafael Cantu Junior High School displayed computer coding skills Friday that they are learning as part of a program to better prepare young people to succeed in the high-tech job market.
The Mission school district has launched the program in partnership with the Mission Economic Development Corporation and Code/Interactive of New York which brings together educators and computer experts to incorporate a coding curriculum into computer science classes. Coding is the behind-the-screen work that makes software and apps run on everything from desktop computers to mobile devices.
Over the summer junior high and high school teachers went through training and instruction on how to incorporate the coding curriculum into their courses starting with the fall semester. The professional development will continue to include the Mission district’s elementary teachers as well.
Code/Interactive is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 to help schools meet the increasing demand for computer experts in the job market. In Texas there are 34,000 open computing jobs and the state only graduated about 3,600 students in the field last year, said Tom O’Connell, interim executive director of Code/Interactive. “Only 40 percent of school districts in the nation are teaching computer science.
Teacher Daniel Reyna is among the teachers incorporating computer coding into his classes. On the day the school district announced the program, his students made presentations to visitors on some of the projects they are working on.
Groups of students are working on mobile apps, from developing the concept to the code that will make it run. Three students presented their idea for a B.L.D. (Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.) app that would scan the contents of your refrigerator or pantry and come up with recipes to fit the ingredients. Another app would tackle social issues by connecting users with organizations where people could turn to learn more and get involved in areas ranging from environmental concerns to homelessness.
“This is a momentous move to bridging the access gap in computer science,” said Julia Barraford-Temel, Code/Interactive’s Mission program manager. “Our partnership puts Mission, Texas on the forefront of making computer science education synonymous with reading, writing and math.”