Malcom X Shabazz High School Students Participate in Hour of Code

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 Local Talk News Editor


Malcolm X Shabazz High School students took part in "Hour of Code," a national initiative designed to introduce students to web coding.

Volunteers from Newark’s tech sector visited the school to introduce students to the coding language behind web sites.

Organized by the City of Newark and Brick City Development Corp., in collaboration with Newark Public Schools, Hour of Code is part of Computer Science Education Week. Shabazz was one of 15 Newark Public Schools taking part in the two-day program.

“The Hour of Code is a terrific program that helps students discover the opportunities in web development at a young age,” said Mayor Luis Quintana. “This is one of the best ways to help the children of Newark learn the skills that will prepare them for a job in the 21st century economy.  We are committed to providing more opportunities like this for our youth so Newark can remain a nationally and internationally competitive city.”

Lyneir Richardson, CEO of Brick City Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm said “Hour of Code” is a part of BCDC’s strategic goal to connect entrepreneurs from Newark’s burgeoning tech community to city residents.

“Brick City Development Corporation's support of Hour of Code in Newark Public Schools is consistent with our goal of exposing youth to high tech, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial venture options and career opportunities,” Richardson said. “As we work to position Newark as a hub in the fast-growing tech sector, it is equally important that Newark residents, particularly students, are preparing for these careers. Brick City Development Corporation plans to continue to support more Newark programming in coding, social media for business, blogging, etc., far beyond Computer Science Education Week.”

Caleb Perkins, Special Assistant to Superintendent Cami Anderson, said Newark Public Schools is excited to have educators and students participate in the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week.

“By having local experts and NPS teachers engage students in authentic programming experiences, we are helping students see not only pathways to 21st century careers but also the power of computer science to improve our lives more broadly,” Perkins said. “We look forward to exploring ways to build on these experiences and ensure meaningful computer science education is a part of every NPS student’s academic experience.”

Patrick Murray, who teaches pre-calculus and calculus at Shabazz, said he believes all students should try their hand at coding.

“Some students will embrace coding and enter the profession, others will write and run code occasionally, and the rest will at least have some exposure to it that helps them understand the role of coding in our modern world.  The Hour of Code speaks directly to that,” said Murray, 58, who has been at Shabazz since 2008 after a 30-year career in coding for such companies as Novartis, PaineWebber, and Georgetown University Medical Center.

Volunteers from Newark and the surrounding communities were encouraged to participate in Hour of Code through a sign-up page on the City of Newark webpage and the active promotion of tech meet-up groups like Brick City Tech, Madison Tech, and Innovation Technology.

“My experience with Newark’s youth is that they are smart and inspired to excel, but there aren't enough people helping open doors for them,” said Matt Martone, founder and CEO of ClixSocial, a tech company on Halsey Street. “Knowing how to code helped me get into college, land my first job and start a company here in Newark. When I learned through Twitter that the city was participating in Hour of Code, I immediately wanted to volunteer because teaching these students to code was a way to help open a door.”

The volunteers are teaching HTML basics primarily to middle school and high school students with Code Academy’s Intro to HTML.  The goal is to get students exposed to coding and to teach them that every webpage they visit is written in the language they are learning.

In addition to Shabazz, the Newark Public Schools participating are: Oliver Street School, Ivy Hill Elementary School, Science Park High School, Quitman Street Community School, Avon Avenue Elementary School, Rafael Hernandez School of Performing Arts, Miller Street School, Ann Street School, Camden Street Elementary, First Avenue School, Ridge Street Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Alexander Street School.

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