Kingsport City Schools began their “Computer Science (CS) for All” implementation program in 2016 when they were the recipient of a BootUp coding implementation grant funded by Emerald Data Solutions, the makers of BoardDocs. Kingsport City Schools, located in the Northeastern corner of Tennessee, has an overall ratio of 54% free or reduced lunch recipients, with some schools experiencing extreme poverty with up to 90% free or reduced lunch recipients, so equitable implementation and access was a focus.
To provide equitable access, coding needs to be taught at a young age and to all students. Kingsport’s plan committed 14 hours of coding time per student during the 2016-17 school year. Library Media Specialists were chosen to provide coding instruction to all elementary students during Related Arts class, which is already part of the school day. At the middle school level, dedicated technology teachers have become Computer Science Teachers. To get started, BootUp’s Professional Development Facilitator spent the Fall semester embedded in six schools providing PD and coaching to ensure teachers felt confident teaching this entirely new subject.
BootUp is providing continued support this fall through four week-long teacher support visits which will include on-site professional development, a new curriculum, coaching, and co-teaching. Teachers will complete their Code.org training, started last fall, and begin introducing Scratch and Scratch Jr. platforms into their classrooms. BootUp will also focus on supporting school leaders who can support the program’s success in coming years.