The Ogden Computer Science Pilot is a partnership between Ogden School District and the nonprofit, BootUp PD. The pilot program has been funded at $125,000 by the Utah STEM Action Center, whose goal for the funding is to build K-12 computing pathways in Utah school districts. The 2017 legislature provided the funds via Senate Bill 190.
Learning to code in elementary school promotes 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Teaching students to create technology instead of being consumed by it is another goal of the pilot. The critical thinking and problem-solving skills students will develop are essential for industry needs and often hard for employers to find when trying to hire new talent.
Ogden School District’s objective is to provide equitable access to computer science by implementing instruction school-wide at each elementary school. Participating schools will add computer science to their computer lab curriculum and provide professional development for lab monitors. Lab monitors will then provide approximately 30 minutes of computer science instruction weekly to all of their K-6 grade students.
Vincent Ardizzone, who is overseeing the initiative says, “Coding is an essential skill for our students. The computational thinking skills gained from learning to code prepare students to adapt to new skill sets they will encounter in the real world. This pilot is aligned to our district vision of innovation and excellence.
Ogden School District has partnered with the nonprofit BootUp PD, who will provide ongoing professional development and support for lab monitors throughout the school year. The training is specifically designed for teachers with no prior computer science experience.
BootUp’s Professional Development facilitator working with Ogden, McKay Perkins, believes, “computer science and coding are the vocabulary for problem-solving. Working in teams, iterating, and experiencing failure along the way, are all authentic ways to learn about the world that these students are growing up in. We are responding to a need to prepare students with real-world problem-solving skills.”
Ogden School District’s objective is to have trained personnel in every building to teach computer science by the 2019-20 school year. Teachers will attend their first computer science professional development workshop facilitated by BootUp PD on August 15th, 2018.