This story first appeared in the February 7th print edition of The Fallon Post by Rachel Dahl Michelle Richardson, the Innovation & Professional Learning Facilitator for the Churchill County School District, has brought an exciting new program to the district called Girls Who Code. Richardson started two coding classes last year, one at Numa and one at E.C Best, during the school day with both boys and girls, using the CS First curriculum through Google. This year she wrote a computer science grant and wrote in funding to pay facilitators for an after school program. This marks the first year in Churchill County for Girls Who Code, which is a national organization focused on “closing the gender gap in technology”. “It’s all about computer science,” said Richardson, “and that component of coding, but its also about building the sisterhood. so you want them (the girls) to do things off the computers together so they get to know each other and support each other — Thursday the girls made bi-nary bracelets.” She explains that for binary code, each letter is represented by eight digits, and the girls found the code for their first initial and created a bracelet based on that code. “I think there is a misconception that all of the coding is on the computer, but it is totally unplugged too,” she said. The girls will do projects unplugged and then be working on the computer, depending on the day. Nancy Hansen is the lead teacher running the program at Numa Elementary with 25 girls every Tuesday and Thursday after school at 3:30 p.m. There are ten third-girls who ride the bus from E.C. Best to join them. Stephanie Knight runs the club at the middle school on Mondays after school for ten girls there. The plan is to continue to expand and add a club at the high school. In addition to Hansen and Knight, Richardson has enlisted the help of high school student Kyla Trotter to help mentor the girls at the Numa club. “It’s a great opportunity for her and allows me to step back and make sure everything is working ok. And then if they need me from time to time I can step in. It’s nice that she can share her passion.” Not only are the girls interested in the coding club, but Richardson said that parents are seeing that computer science is part of our world in more ways than just using a computer, and supporting their students to be involved in the coding club. The girls all got their first exposure to coding through a program the school district takes part in every year called “an hour of code” which is a nationwide event that happens each December. According to Richardson, “it’s a week long and the teachers can choose how they present. A lot of the kids’ first exposure was through this, and they learn that coding is fun.” The club is focused now primarily on block coding, and learning the vocabulary. “They’re learning where we start the process, what are loops and variables, and focusing on the computer science component,” Richardson said. Along with that, Girls Who Code focuses on building a sisterhood. “We’re trying to teach them to be brave and resilient, and find a purpose. We don’t want to do coding for fun all the time, but there are real-life applications.” The girls in the club at the middle school are working on an impact project that can be shared in the community. “Part of the sisterhood,” said Richardson, “is coming together and deciding what they can do out in the real world that will be beneficial and their final product.” They are putting together a website on influential women. Each girl is doing the research on an influential woman and then they will put all the information on their website. Richardson said she will need a facilitator to head up the club at E.C. Best in the fall. The person does not need a teaching license, and can fill out the volunteer application on the Girls Who Code website. The organization does run a background check. Never miss the local news -- read more on The Fallon Post home page. If you enjoy The Fallon Post, please support our effort to provide local, independent news and make a contribution today. Your contribution makes possible this online news source for all things Fallon.
Girls Who Code - More Innovation from ChurchillCSD
- 2020-03-15, 04:01 AM