On Jan. 9, After-School Enrichment (ASE) had its first coding class from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the computer lab. The class, which meets every Wednesday, is available to third through eighth graders and has 15 students enrolled.

The goal of the class is to “have fun while learning code,” according to director of technology and teacher Shelley Hinson.

“We (are) building on our hour of code we had in the first week of December,” Hinson said. “We (are) using many different platforms: Scratch 3 from MIT and Alice for block coding, Lightwell for app development, along with Minecraft and GameMaker for game design. All of these cover coding skills for all levels.”

Hinson said it’s just the beginning of tech-related classes for students of all ages. In the ASE class, students work on lessons together to produce stories, games and much more. Then, the students will use the skills they’ve learned to create their own projects.

“We will continue to build our technology and computer science program by adding classes to ASE, and the middle and high school,” Hinson said.

Director of ASE and summer programs Joy Pangilinan Kronemeyer helps run the after-school class.

“This class is for students who want to learn how to create apps, games, animations and other types of digital media,” Pangilinan Kronemeyer said. “It is a great opportunity for students to expose themselves to the coding world.”

ASE offers three other STEM classes after school: Jr. Robotics for kindergarten through second-grade students, Adventures in Scratch Programming geared for kindergarten through second-grade students and Middle School Robotics for sixth- through eighth-grade students.

Also, the high school has coding classes.

“There are already AP classes offered in the high school taught by Fred Jaravata and Hinson,” Pangilinan Kronemeyer said. “The goal is to have more STEM offerings in all three divisions. ASE is very excited to offer another STEM class after school. I am very appreciative to Shelley, who really wants to make these classes available to our students after school.”’

By Miles Morrow

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