Stono Park Elementary School is the first school in Charleston County School District (CCSD) to implement “Code To The Future” which is the nation’s first comprehensive solution for computer science immersion. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade are coding in all subject areas.
Jessica Collins is the computer lab teacher at Stono Park. She described the school-wide initiative as one that allows the kids to dream bigger. She also noted the importance of having programs like these in Title 1 schools. “It’s all about students being able to see the physical representation of their work play out in front of them,” said Collins. “I’ve found that this allows students who are not strong in content areas to become stronger without even knowing it. They also may look to computer science careers whereas before they may not have even known they existed.”
Students in kindergarten, first, and second grade use a software called Scratch Junior to learn block-based coding, while third, fourth, and fifth graders used Scratch. Kindergarten teacher Glenn Tolleveson said the staff collectively embraced the immersion effort because they knew what the long-term benefits would be.
“Ultimately, what we’re here for is to help our kids get further into the future not just to the next grade level,” said Tolleveson. Lanaya Williams, a fourth grader, said her favorite thing about computer science is being able to share her creativity. “We are learning skills that will prepare us for our future,” said Williams. Even though college is still a long time away, we are learning skills that will help us right now, like collaboration, communication, creativity, and problem-solving.”
Jermaine Terry, a fifth grader, said that the curriculum teaches students how to start sequences with different events, and how to make Sprites using the graphic editor. A sprite is a bitmap graphic that is designed to be part of a larger scene. It can either be a static image or an animated graphic. “Students are gamers and for them to be able to learn how to build something instead of being a consumer, is exciting,” added Collins. Terry wants to build robots when he grows up and considers this infused curriculum a stepping stone to excel in that profession.
“This has helped me to understand the basics of coding and why students should learn computer science at a much younger age,” said Terry. “I think this will change the world someday. This has helped me look deeper below the surface of things.”
For more information, please contact Principal Kimberly Riggins at (843) 763-1507.