HISD, Code.org announce new K-12 computer science education partnership

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The Houston Independent School District teamed up with Code.org on Wednesday to announce a new partnership that aims to bring computer science education to all HISD campuses over the next three years.

Through the partnership, HISD will find ways to integrate coding and computer science principles at all grade levels. Rather than focus simply on computer programming, the goal is to use coding to emphasize the underlying principles of logic, creative thinking and expression in all academic areas.

The three-year partnership will include professional development opportunities for teachers and access to online content delivery systems, as well as funding for professional development and classroom supplies.

The announcement came during Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 8 to 14. To celebrate the week, students and teachers from 115 schools across the district participated in Hour of Code, a nationwide initiative that calls for schools to spend at least one hour during the week on computer science education.

Coding and computer science education not only help prepare students for high-wage, high-demand, 21st century jobs, but they also help students become better thinkers and learners.

“Coding is a way kids learn to communicate, but it’s also how they learn to think critically and to problem solve,” Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier said Wednesday during the Hour of Code celebration at Kolter Elementary School. “The Hour of Code needs to be expanded to the day of code, the week of code, the month of code, the year of code. This has to be part of the way we do business in HISD.”

As part of the celebration surrounding Hour of Code, Code.org presented $10,000 to Kolter Elementary for computer hardware that will help the school implement its computer science education plan. Code.org reviewed implementation plans submitted by schools across the country before selecting one winner from each state.

“The beauty of computer science is that it teaches you to think differently about difficult problems,” Cameron Wilson, Chief Operating Officer for Code.org, said Wednesday. “Computer science allows you to create technology, not just use it or consume it. Computer science unlocks the door to a magical place where you can create technology, games, websites, apps, and change the world.”