NJCSSA Graduation

2019-05-03 00:00:00 +0000

The NJCSSA has achieved several significant milestones. On April 13, we held our inaugural class graduation reception at the Urban League of Essex County. Seven students from Newark public high schools completed the NJCSSA’s 10 week coding program and received their graduation certificates. The program taught basic coding skills and concluded with a class project in which students created their own computer games. Most importantly, the program emphasized self-reliance as a skill that is necessary for further development as a coder. The following link will take you to a video in which several of our graduating students and student instructors describe their experiences in the program. I’m grateful to my sister Olivia Campbell for all of her excellent work in producing the video.

There are several observations that I would note based on the program’s design and operation. The program is inexpensive to operate. Donations of classroom space by the Urban League of Essex County and laptops by The Electronic Access Foundation along with student volunteers were virtually all that was necessary. The program is highly collaborative and unorthodox (at the high school level) with respect to its instructor-student model. A small number of students engage in class room lectures, labs and tutorials with instructors of their own age. The students and student instructors are confronting many of the same life events and appear to be very similar with respect to what they hope to accomplish in their lives. Because of these shared goals, it is not very long before the students collaborate as colleagues rather than in a traditional hierarchical sense of instructor and student. The learning process seems to be enhanced as a result. I would also note the obvious: small class size makes learning easier and ensures that no one who wants to learn coding will be left behind. I believe that was an important lesson learned from NJCSSA’s first coding class. A related question, that I will try to address in a future blog, is the degree to which the NJCSSA framework may be scalable.

The NJCSSA and the Urban League of Essex County will be reaching out to principles of various Newark High Schools in the next several weeks to help us enlist students for our coding summer term. Scheduling for the summer term will be announced in the next several weeks. Any student interested in attending may contact me at the email address below.

Contact Ben: [email protected]

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