School promotes coding, wins $10,000 prize

A Missouri charter school that hosted a computer coding program has earned a $10,000 prize to bring new advancements to the classroom.

AniyaThe Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology is located in Kansas City and serves students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. More than 370 students attend the school, which serves an at-risk and high-risk population of students.

As part of the school’s mission to integrate technology into the classroom, the school decided to participate in the worldwide Hour of Code project. The Hour of Code was developed to help expose students to the practice of coding. This took place during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 9-15.

William Wells, the school’s network administrator, said more than 250 students, 15 community volunteers, three schools and three community organizations joined the Benjamin Banneker school for the Hour of Code.

The program gives students an idea of exciting career choices in compuer coding—from designing video games to developing software. A software developer earns an average of $93,000 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is expected to grow 22 percent over the next 10 years.

“Our Hour of Code project was absolutely a success,” Wells said. “In fact, our neighbor school, St. Peter’s who joined us, held their own Hour of Code Day for their students.  So not only are our students more interested in coding but we spread the fire to our partner schools St. Peter’s and Academie Lafayette.”

During the week, the school also announced it was one of just 51 schools nationwide to be awarded $10,000 in funding for new computer technology in conjunction with the Hour of Code project.

Wells said the funding enabled the school to purchase 25 laptops, 25 Raspberry Pi personal computers and accessories, a Computer Coding Curriculum from Tynker, IXL Language Arts and a math curriculum.

Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology was one of 20,504 organizers worldwide that hosted Hour of Code for 3,093,456 students, across 159 countries.

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