Henderson County Public Schools has received $40,000 of the $800,000 granted to 16 districts this month through the N.C. General Assembly’s second round of Coding and Mobile App Development Grant Program.
The state grants support partnerships with local businesses to help schools develop computer science, coding and mobile app development programs for middle and high school students, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
“This innovative program is providing North Carolina students the opportunity to learn computer science, coding and mobile app development to help them gain key skills in high demand in the 21st century economy,” said State Superintendent Mark Johnson in an N.C. Department of Public Instruction press release.
In Henderson County, that partnership between educators and the business sector is called “Community of Code” – a collaborative effort among HCPS, Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), and local business and industry partners to increase opportunities for students interested in pursuing careers as software and web developers.
Through the grant funds, the Community of Code will satisfy students’ increased requests for access to additional coding courses, by offering the NCDPI course “Creative Coding Through Games and Apps,” targeting freshmen and sophomores – who would then be positioned to enroll in Career and College Promise (CCP) courses offered by BRCC. Completion of the 16-semester hour CCP courses will earn dually enrolled HCPS students certificates in Simulation and Game Development – which in turn are applicable toward the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Simulation and Game Development at BRCC.
“A growing number of our students are interested in careers that require coding skills,” said Dr. Jan King, HCPS Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction. “Under HCPS Director of High Schools Dr. Wendy Frye’s leadership, Community of Code will provide students with expanded opportunities to explore computer science in hands-on ways. The grant also helps build capacity among our teachers to stay current with industry standards in the field.”
In addition to coding courses, the Community of Code partnership will provide students with mentoring, work-based opportunities, coding summer camps, college visits, and Hackathon Competitions during which students seek to solve community and school issues via software solutions.
“This partnership in our community directly addresses the educational desires of our students – who will acquire skillsets critical to a multitude of employers in our workforce,” Frye said. “Students trained in software and web development will be prepared to provide services to a wide variety of potential employers, from traditional entities like banks to emerging entities like independent gaming firms.”
For more information about the Coding and Mobile App Development Grant Program, visit www.ncpublicschools.org/cte/.