London Schools holds first district-wide Hour of Code

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(Posted Dec. 20, 2018)

On Dec. 5, London City Schools took an hour to celebrate Computer Science Week and participate in code.org’s Hour of Code.

Created to raise awareness and break down barriers surrounding computer science fields, Hour of Code is an annual event involving tens of millions of students around the world.

This was the first district-wide event for London City Schools, which launched its first course in a four-course computer science pathway earlier this year. Teachers leading the initiative included Mark Stafford at the elementary school, Jodi Pozy at the middle school, and Dan Karl at the high school.

Student activities, accessible at code.org, ranged from game programming to animation. The middle and high schools ran assembly schedules to support participation by all students.

At the beginning of the school year, London City Schools launched STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses in each of its three school buildings. The Hour of Code supports the district’s goal of applying for a STEM designation for each school in the spring of 2019.

Technology

At the Dec. 11 school board meeting, Dillan Shoemaker, the district’s director of technology, talked about upgrades the district has made to technology in the last three years.

The upgrades range from new computers for teachers and Chromebooks for students to installation of a district-wide camera surveillance system. New projectors and screens, WiFi expansion, boosted bandwidth and a new website also are on the list.

This year, Shoemaker started to develop maker/thinker spaces at each of the buildings where students can explore and share ideas. The plan is to equip the spaces with robotics, three-dimensional printers and other tools that aid in creative and critical thinking.

“We wanted to get the base layer in this year–furniture and some equipment–then see where the teachers and students took it and develop the spaces from there,” Shoemaker said.

About the upgrades as a whole, he added, “We are doing stuff with technology all of the time. And it’s not just me–the teachers take it and run with it,” he said. “Typically, I have to slow them down. They’re always asking, ‘Can we do this, can we do that?’”

Purple Star Awards

The district’s schools are now officially military-friendly. On Dec. 6, the Ohio Department of Education named the elementary, middle and high schools as Purple Star Schools.

Last spring, the district started working to help military families by:

* establishing a single point of contact for those families;

* launching a web page listing resources;

* revising enrollment forms to support families affected by deployments; and

* educating staff on the challenges that students from military families face.

The school board passed a resolution in April stating support of military children and families and the district’s efforts to better support them.

Board President Darryl Brown noted that London is home to only a few active military families but is home to a number of reserve families. Brown is a retired Air Force officer and a senior supervisory attorney at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

Brown said the burdens of military service can be overwhelming at times for families and praised the district’s efforts.

Building rental

The school board approved a lease agreement with Cypress Church. The Galloway church plans to hold services for London area parishioners at London High School on Sundays in 2019. The church will pay the district $60,000 for the year.

–With reporting by Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Messenger editor

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