Loudoun County Public Schools is going to make coding our second language, but the question is: “why?” Computer Science Immersion Schools will use computer programming to help tackle authentic, challenging problems in the world. Students will share solutions featuring computer programming with a real-world audience beyond their teacher, and collaborate with experts in the world as they use computer-programming to solve problems. These experiences will contribute to student ownership of their work, and deeper, longer-lasting learning in all content areas. In order to accomplish this, Loudoun County Public Schools has selected three lighthouse schools to be the first computer immersion schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia, working with Code to the Future. These schools were intentionally chosen through an application process to lead the shift in the paradigm; infusing computer science into the daily curriculum; to consistently and effectively use the 5 C's (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Cooperation) to prepare students for the challenges associated with authentic problems and make meaningful contributions to the world.
Immersing Students in Computer Science at LCPS
LCPS has partnered with Code to the Future to provide three schools with a supported Computer Science Immersion Program for three years beginning the 2017-18 school year. The mission of Code to the Future is: “to inspire students to become aware of their incredible potential, and equip them with the skills necessary for success in school and life.” The three schools in LCPS that were accepted through the application process were: Meadowland ES, Moorefield Station ES, and Round Hill ES. These three schools are “lighthouse” schools – the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be engaged in the Code to the Future Computer Science Immersion Program. Students at these schools will be engaged in a structured program provided by Code to the Future that will provide them with no fewer than 30 minutes of Computer Science lessons and activities per instructional day – these activities include but are not limited to: learning programming languages and how to apply what they learn using LEGOs and Minecraft. As the school year moves on, computer science lessons will be “woven” into other core subject area instructional time. Teachers at these schools will be provided weekly support and coaching from a Code to the Future “Coach” who will provide instructional resources and lessons to help students solve relevant and authentic problems – these, in turn, will be showcased throughout the school year to the communities of these schools; these showcases, known as “Epic Builds” will occur several times a year.