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CCA students find passion for school through coding

School helps elementary, middle and high school students interact with technology and prepares them for the future.

Children today have more access to technology than any other generation, and they’re learning how to use it at younger ages. Because elementary-aged students learn on tablets, laptops and smartphones, CCA encourages our students to interact with technology at all grade levels. CCA provides students with laptops for virtual learning and offers access to 3-D printers.

With this level of technology use, CCA knows how important it is for students to learn and understand the science behind it.

One elementary teacher, Sara Van Ostenbridge, has taken a special interest in coding after Elementary School Principal Adam Fraser encouraged teachers to take a week off from regular curriculum in honor of the Hour of Code initiative.

Van Ostenbridge embraced the idea by introducing coding in her lessons.

Coding is a set of instructions a computer can understand. Nearly anything powered by electricity uses some form of code. Students develop transferable skills, such as problem-solving and communication, from learning to code. They gain hard skills that can lead to various careers, including web development, IT positions, engineering and data analysis.

What started as activities and games has turned into a club beginning in the 2017-18 school year at CCA. Elementary students have the option to choose between a computer class that teaches them type and painting and a class focused on coding. While coding does not spark the interest of every student, it often stirs something in many who find it more engaging than traditional coursework.

“I have students who struggle a lot in math or science,” Van Ostenbridge said. “Then we start computer coding and it completely changes.”

How you can get started

At some of CCA’s Family Service Centers, students can use the toys and tools to engage in coding activities. One toy – a robotic mouse equipped with several buttons – allows students to input its distance and direction to determine the best way for the mouse to reach its destination, which is a piece of cheese.

CCA offers a Coding & Computers Club for elementary school students, who come together to engage with one another and learn more about a common topic.

Coding projects create an opportunity for the family to learn together. Teachers provide students with resources such as and Tynker that promote learning code for people of any age.

“These sites provide students with offline activities they can do with their family,” Van Ostenbridge said. “They have to navigate their parents through the house just using symbols like they do the mouse.”

Nearly every career today interacts with coding at some level, making it increasingly valuable to learn. CCA students looking into college or technology-based careers will be at an advantage obtaining this practical skill.


Commonwealth Charter Academy


February 28th, 2018


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