From Zero to Confidence
Warren Township: Lowell Elementary
The Metropolitan School District of Warren Township ministers to the Eastside of Indianapolis and is dedicated to serving students through innovation, inspiration, and education. As a part of the Race to the Top initiative, Warren Township received $29 million to provide their students with concentrated and equitable education opportunities.
As part of the district’s commitment to the individual needs of each student as well as to keeping its curriculum consistent with the most current education practices, they used a small portion of their Race to the Top funds to license Codelicious curriculum for one of their elementary schools. Their goal with this purchase was to provide a way to prepare students for the future workforce.
Lowell Elementary teacher, Collin Yust, volunteered to run a pilot of the Codelcious course with his third grade students. Computer science and coding was new to Mr. Yust, whose background is in social studies, math and science. He was hesitant that he’d be able to stay ahead of his 28 Chromebook-using students without any prior knowledge of the subject matter.
After spending a semester teaching with the Codelicious curriculum, Mr. Yust is no longer hesitant. He found the step-by-step instructional lesson plans aided in his understanding of computer science concepts and built up his confidence. Now, Mr. Yust feels poised to teach even more complex computer science and coding programs. Even better, he has seen incredible growth in the interest and abilities of his students.
Mr. Yust spent one hour per week working on computer science skills with his students. Using built-in efficacy tracking tools that Codelicious provides, Mr. Yust was able to measure students growth from the beginning to the end of the semester. Students took both a pre and post assessment to assess their skills before the course and after. Mr. Yust—and leadership at his school—were thrilled to see:
A specific example of mastery of computer science principles involves the topic of debugging. When asked to define debugging on the pre-assessment, nearly all of Mr. Yust’s students scored zero points. At the end of the semester, when asked again to define debugging, explain why it is a significant part of coding, and describe how to use it as a problem-solving tool, those same students scored over 90%. By using activities and lessons geared specifically toward those third grade students, they were able to grasp fundamental computer science principles in just one hour a week.