White House announces FCN model programs for California, city of chicago, plus development collaboration with disney
Programs Tap Family Engagement for K-5 Computer Science Education
(Mill Valley, CA – December 5, 2016) The White House today announced new commitments to computer science education from numerous organizations, including a commitment to provide the Family Code Night event program to every public school in the largest state and the third largest school District in the U.S., and a development collaboration between Family Code Night and Disney, the largest entertainment company in the world.
In California, the Family Code Night Event Kit will be distributed to every elementary school principal in the state by the Elementary Education Council of ACSA (the Association of California School Administrators), while in Chicago the District’s Computer Science for All program will distribute the Kit to all principals in the Chicago Public Schools District. All program materials are provided free, thanks to a grant from National Program Sponsor Capital One. And in early 2017, Family Code Night will collaborate with Disney to create a new Event Kit based on the new Moana-themed Hour of Code tutorial.
“We’re thrilled at the groundswell of schools’ adoption of the Family Code Night event, and to be partnering with Disney and their great brand and content,” said Family Code Night Director John Pearce. “Our mission is to build family engagement into a national force in K-5 computer science education, and these are big steps in that direction.”
Family Code Night is the free, whole-school family event, at which children K-5 and their parents do their first hour of coding, together. The Family Code Night experience is a high-impact delight: when parents and children start to learn to code together, pairing up to tackle fun self-paced coding puzzles from Code.org, surrounded by their school community of friends and other families in the school auditorium or gym, the effect is dramatic. The Family Code Night Event Kit has everything a school needs to host their own Family Code Night event, including Presenter’s Script, posters, participant handouts, invitations, slidedeck, and links to the program’s puzzles and videos.
“We believe it’s vital to start computer science education in elementary grades, because too many kids believe by middle school that coding is not for them,” said Pearce. “And for K-5 kids, family engagement and approval fuels kids’ belief that they too can be coders and computer scientists. That parent engagement is a great, largely untapped resource in the CSforAll movement.”
The data is unequivocal. 90% of parents want more coding education for their kids in our schools. They see the future. They hear about 1 million unfilled computer science by the year 2020. They realize that true digital literacy means creating, not just consuming, on-screen experience.
Yet according to the Computer Science for All Consortium, and a recent Google/Gallup study in USA Today, just 8% of our school principals believe there is high demand for CS education among parents.
We sympathize. With so much pressure on today's principals, it's impossible to fit everything in. But one easy next step in CS education at any elementary school? Family Code Night. It's free, it's a great first or next step for any K-5 school, and kids and families love it. In just a few hours time for an Organizer and a Presenter, using idle school resources on one evening, any school can host this delightful and important school event.
Read all about it: on the White House website, in the New York Times, or here on our Home page. And get your free Family Code Night Event Kit today!
The gender gap in computer science learning starts early. In our experience in providing opt-in after-school classes to thousands of kids at 15 area schools, girls' enrollment is far lower among fourth and fifth graders. Societal forces, even at such a young age, persuade far too many girls that coding is for other kids, not them. We suspect the same is true for at-risk youth. Our conclusions? Start CS learning grades K-5. Create girl-friendly classes and clubs (e-textiles, 3D design, animation). And engage K-5 parents and guardians to support and celebrate kids' CS learning.
Thoughts and suggestions welcome in Comments.