Perry Elementary School shines during Computer Week

A pair of budding coders from Perry Elementary School are working on a block coding exercise Tuesday during Computer Science Week.

A delegation of state education officials visited classrooms at Perry Elementary School on Tuesday to see firsthand how the district’s computer science program enriches student learning.

In April 2019, Perry Elementary School was one of six schools in Iowa to receive a $ 50,000 planning grant through a project called Computer Science is Elementary, an initiative of the Advisory Council of the Iowa STEM and the Iowa Department of Education. The money was aimed at turning very poor elementary schools into models of innovative computer education.

Iowa Department of Education director Ann Lebo led the state group. She was joined by Mary Trent, North West Regional Director of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Board, Justin Lewis, Iowa Department of Education Computer Consultant, and Heather Doe, Director of Communications for the Governor’s Department of Education. Iowa.

2020 Iowa Teacher of the Year George Anderson, who teaches history at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, also visited the school.

Local officials represented on the tour included Perry Community School District Superintendent Clark Wicks, Director of Teaching and Learning Kevin Vidergar, Principal of Perry Elementary School Ryan Marzen and Associate Principal Morgan Maharry, Perry Middle School Principal Ned Menke, Education Coach Nathan Horgen, Director of DMACC and Elected Member of Perry School Board Eddie Diaz, Director of Routes and Elected Member of Perry School Board , Travis Landgrebe and Dallas County Ag in Class Director, Jamie Champion.

Andrew Dowd from Perry joined the tour as a recent graduate of the Academy of Computer Languages ​​DMACC who is now interning with Accenture’s Rural Forge program.

Teachers from Perry Elementary School presented their methods of using computers to strengthen the teaching of reading and math and as a stand-alone subject. The tour included visits with Katie Hermann and Jenny Adair’s freshman class, Julie Elliott and Katie Hardy’s sophomores, Katelyn Whelchel’s third grade room, Sam Elliott’s fifth grade room, and the class Rachel Nuhn’s Kindergarten.

Budding programmers were found to use clock-based coding, a drag-and-drop method using “blocks” of coding to create animated stories and games. Entry-level exercise helps kids understand computational thinking through visuals as opposed to text-based coding, which comes later.

“What a great visit to Perry Elementary School, where computer science is integrated into education at all levels and in core subjects,” Doe said. “These skills help with critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity – and the students have fun.”

Perry’s Computer Science is Elementary project aligns with Future Ready Iowa, which sets a goal of 70% of the workforce with education or training beyond high school by 2025. The initiative is Also focuses on strengthening education and careers from Kindergarten to Grade 12. exploration and preparation.

Collins Aerospace was the primary sponsor of the Computer Science is Elementary project, with additional private sector funding from Principal Financial Group, MidAmerican Energy, Kemin Industries, Microsoft, Google, ITC Midwest, Alliant Energy, Technology Association of Iowa, Verizon, Paragon Informatique , AT&T, Iowa School Administrators, Workiva, Pella Rolscreen Foundation, Merchant Bonding and Bankers Trust.

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