First, we thought about what we wanted to accomplish at the end, and what students need to get there. Leaders of this program wanted each and every student to graduate with full exposure to the K-12 CS Framework, with a portfolio to prove it. This meant integration into core subject areas to ensure every student had access.
For Mineola, that was KidOYO, a startup focused on computer science education with a willingness to co-create. At the first implementation meeting, Superintendent Mike Nagler asked the company to create a badging system in the platform, which they did. From there, the company would start its partnership in building solutions for the district’s coding courses, badges, and learning pathways.
The initial phase of professional development was to instruct teachers to create badges and for library media specialists to grow their expertise as leads. With thoughtful and personalized professional development opportunities, teachers developed Snow Day challenges for students on bad weather days and the popularity of badges took off. The next phase of implementation was to implement teacher professional development courses, which teacher experts were paid to create for new employees.
The successful implementation of this initiative with teachers and the way in which ownership was transferred to them led to the creation of new communities and applications. Our community members created a series of badges around the district mission statement, school-based communities, stackable badges for online professional development, and enrichment courses for students looking to pursue and advance coding beyond what they learn in the school day.
Once badges were launched and students and teachers were exposed to computational thinking principles, it was time to take implementation to the next level. Using the principles of design thinking that the district wanted their own students to adopt, leaders worked together to iterate on a solution that would ensure all students were exposed to coding in an age appropriate way.
The nature of this work is such that there are always new things for students to learn, and work for districts to stay updated with. Since the launch of the computational thinking curriculum, the district has woven computer science and coding with the district’s maker space and robotics continuum. By celebrating a culture of growth mindset, and empowering leaders at every level—administration, school, classroom, and individual—students are learning in a variety of different languages and ways, to show what they know.