The Miami Trace Local School District has been actively participating in the Ohio Code Scholar Project this school year.
This program was adopted last year, and several meetings have been held over the last 12 months to prepare the program for implementation this school year. Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser recently spoke about this opportunity.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to expand our elective options for students at Miami Trace,” Pittser said. “This specific pathway offers our students hands-on, real-life learning experiences. Some of the skills emphasized in the Ohio Code Scholar project are problem solving, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. All of these skills benefit our students no matter their path following high school graduation.”
Miami Trace High School teacher Jacqui Montgomery is heading the program for the district. “Computer Science Essentials” is the class currently being taught, under the curriculum of “Project Lead the Way.” Montgomery shared her thoughts on this program.
“We have started at the high school level with the Computer Science Essentials course. I teach two periods of this class. This course exposes students to coding fundamentals and computational problem solving. It also presents students with access to MIT App Inventor and Python for solving problems with syntax. I like that this course focuses on apps for students to use on mobile devices,” she said. “Many people use cell phones as their sole method of interacting with the internet and electronics; we use iPads. I think that makes the course very relatable to the students. I also like that students are pair programming from the very first unit. That pair programming encourages them to collaborate and communicate with their classmates. They are also practicing the skill of perseverance, and that one is invaluable.”
According to district officials, Miami Trace started a similar class last year using content from Code.org, but this Ohio Code Scholar project has allowed for more in-depth content and module access through Project Lead the Way. A few Miami Trace students expressed their feelings toward this project.
Deakon Diffendal said, “I like how the language is built in this class. It starts with all the necessary coding blocks but in the second lesson the blocks will have missing labels. Then, in the third lesson we get only the first block and have to provide the rest.”
“Compared to last year, this year’s class started with very direct instructions. We are put into the coding blocks right away,” replied Hunter Allen.
“I like how tangible this class is. We see the results,” said Paul Huestis.
Jesse Bryant said, “We use Python in this class which is one of the main computer programming languages in the field. I plan to go into the computer science field.”
Miami Trace looks to expand the class offerings in the future to include “Computer Science Principles” and “Cyber-security.”