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Seminole schools expand computer science offierings
Source: Leslie Postal




The Seminole County school district will expand its efforts to teach computer science by infusing coding lessons into the curriculum at two elementary schools when classes start next month.

The new “Code to the Future” effort builds on the district’s two-year-old initiative to give all students a “robust introduction” to the field by the end of middle school. That includes a program, started in 2015, to teach basic coding to all kindergartners.

The new project will be at Altamonte and Pine Crest elementary schools and involves meshing coding lessons into daily academic work, for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The Code to the Future group — slogan “we make schools more fun while preparing kids for the future” — says the pair of Seminole schools are the first in Florida to become “immersion schools” through its program.

The new lessons will come more often than the other kindergarten-coding ones and will offer options for older students, who will learn Java, a popular computer programming language, said Beth Pocius, the district’s project leader for the initiative.

But in the initial year, the program assumes everyone is a novice so older students won't be expected to have any prior knowledge, Pocius said.

The plan is for the students to get occasional 30-minute lessons on particular coding languages but then to practice and use those skills as they study reading, math, science and social studies, she added.

The hope is that students get excited about computer science and eager to keep studying the field.

“Our goal is to really get their appetite wet earlier,” Pocious added.

The program is part of Seminole’s “Computer Science 2020” plan, which aims to give all students some exposure to the subject.

Superintendent Walt Griffin, in a statement said he hopes to expand the program to other schools in the future. “This is the start of an innovative way to encourage our students to excel further in this area,” he said.



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