St. Anne's-Belfield School will offer two new computer science programs in summer 2018, one in collaboration with HackCville. The SPARK! experiences build upon the popular teen hackathons of the same name and will be open to rising fifth through twelfth grade students.
Facilitated by St. Anne's-Belfield School computer science educators Kim Wilkens, founder of local nonprofit Tech-Girls, and Zach Minster, the summer programs are designed to achieve computer science outreach through innovative teaching, student-driven learning, and real-world problem solving.
Two immersive learning experiences will be available in summer 2018 for middle and high school students. Rising fifth through eighth grade students can participate in SPARK! Exploration, through which they will hone computer science skills as they work towards creating solutions to real-world problems by engaging in a mini-hackathon.
"We want younger students to know that computer science and tech activities are things that anyone can do, even those with no experience and those whose general hobbies and interests lie outside the boundaries people would traditionally define as 'techy,'" said Minster.
"These age groups are times of rapid identity formation, and we want these tweens and teens to try on as many 'hats' as possible. These summer programs are low-pressure environments to try on this 'hat' and see if it fits."
SPARK! Launchpad is an opportunity for rising ninth through twefth grade students to learn computer science skills and explore design challenges in order to solve real-world problems. They will also get a behind-the-scenes view of what it is like to work in tech through field trips and guest speakers.
"We are excited to be working in concert with HackCville as we are both laying the foundation for student-driven learning pathways this summer giving high school students in the region a fantastic opportunity to level up their skills, solve real-world problems, and become internship ready," said Wilkens.
Students must apply to these programs and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis based on interest and program availability. No previous experience is required. More information on Summer SPARK! may be found at summerspark.stab.org. Early bird registration discounts end on May 1, 2018. More information on HackCville Expedition may be found at hackcville.com/expedition.