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Developing a Computer Science Immersion Program in South Dakota

In 2017, Sioux Falls School District found ways to bring technology into the district. They started a five-year partnership with Code to the Future to create a computer science immersion program in three Title 1 elementary schools and two high-poverty middle schools. Code to the Future trains the teachers by having them do the assignments and projects their students will do, and then they learn to code and complete hands-on projects. By integrating coding throughout their core classes, students develop critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, and other skills that companies need. In addition to this program, the district also created maker spaces in some of its elementary and middle school libraries using a state innovation grant. Teachers encourage students to apply what they learn to create something in the maker space, using items like sewing machines, jewelry-making supplies, Legos, Kinex blocks, 3D drawing pens, and programming kits. Librarians say that one of their favorite outcomes is watching students teach each other how to create things.