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Southern High and Accident Elementary Split Maryland's Hour of Code Contest

Last Updated on Mar 15, 2016 at 2:47pm | Public Information Office

Southern Garrett High School and Accident Elementary School, both in Garrett County, MD, were recently named co-winners of the second “Maryland Hour of Code” contest. Interim State Superintendent Jack Smith awarded $10,000 total in education technology to the two schools for their collaborative efforts to provide children with computer science experience.
Accident Elementary School and Southern Garrett High School were the recipients of the Maryland Hour of Code Award as a result of Lindsay Krisher’s computer science students at Southern Garrett creating customized learning apps for Zachary Krisher’s students at Accident Elementary.
       Pictured:  Lindsay Krisher, Southern High School, and Zachary Krisher, Accident Elementary School.
“Practical and impactful applications of technology and coding were the main focus of the coding contest projects. We were thrilled with the effort and thoughtfulness put into the project by the high school students. Their effort resulted in a custom made product my elementary students could benefit from routinely in the classroom,” stated Mr. Krisher.
After brainstorming ways that they could use their coding skills to help others in the community, the Southern Garrett High School students decided to reach out to younger students in the county. They started by communicating with Mr. Krisher at Accident Elementary in order to find out what specific learning objectives his students were working on in class. Using that information, the programming students designed and created learning games that can be used in the classroom. These computer games were personalized to spark the interest of the students at Accident. The games teach skills such as skip counting, addition, fine motor skills, music literacy and money sense.
Pictured:  Left - Dr. Jane Wildesen, Director of Elementary School Education; and Skyler Lewis, 3rd grade student at Accident Elementary.  Right -  Dr. Jack Smith, Interim State Superintendent of Schools; Prestan Mrljak, 2nd grade student at Accident; and Melissa Sandlin, Northrup Grumman Corporation.
Mrs. Krisher indicated, “My goal for these students was not only to give them the programming skills that they will need to be college and career ready, but to also spark their interest in serving others and giving back to their community."
Both the computer programmers at Southern Garrett High School and the students at Accident Elementary benefited greatly from this experience.
Pictured:  Left - Jeanne McGuirk, Northrup Grumman Corporation, and Kulen Flanigan, 11th grade student at Southern High.  Right -   Austin Cassidy (10th grade) and Jack Corbin (12th grade), students at Southern High; Dr. Jack Smith, Interim State Superintendent of Schools; Jeanne McGuirk, Northrup Grumman Corporation; and Kristy Michel, MSDE.
MSDE launched the contest in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corporation as a way to spark interest in computer science as part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.  The Maryland Hour of Code was organized in alignment with national nonprofit, which offers its own annual Hour of Code contest and awards $10,000 in classroom technology to one school in each state. awarded its prize to George Washington Carver Elementary School in Lexington Park, Maryland. Multiple “Hour of Code” events were held across the state during Computer Science Education week (December 7-13, 2015). 
"Congratulations to the students and teachers at Southern Garrett High and Accident Elementary, who went above and beyond in their exploration of code," said Governor Larry Hogan.  "Computer science is critical for today's students and increasingly important for Maryland's growing tech-based economy."
Those sentiments were shared by Kathy Warden, Corporate Vice President and President of Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector.  
“A strong STEM educational base is critical to the economy of Maryland and critical to our nation’s technology leadership,” Warden said.  “That’s why for the second straight year, Northrop Grumman is pleased to sponsor the Maryland Hour of Code contest designed to excite student interest in computer science and related career fields.”

       Pictured:  Left - Accident's acceptance award of $5,000.                  Right -   Southern High's acceptance of $5,000.
Dr. Smith said students must be immersed in cutting-edge competencies before graduation.  “We cannot thank our business partners enough for supporting our students and ensuring they are exposed to in-demand career skills,” Dr. Smith said.  “Southern Garrett High School students and Accident Elementary students learned together that computer science can be used to apply math and science in interesting and meaningful ways and lead to many exciting careers.”
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) launched the first Maryland Hour of Code contest last year in coordination with the BWI Business Partnership and with the generous sponsorship of the Northrop Grumman Corporation.  More than 100 Maryland elementary and secondary schools applied this year across the state. MSDE organized the contest with the goal of exposing students statewide to computer science and coding.
The Maryland Hour of Code contest allowed public school teachers to describe their plans for computer coding activities and how every student in their school will participate. 
Currently, 4,045 of Maryland’s 870,000 public school students are enrolled in computer science and programming-related courses in career and technical education programs at 44 high schools in Maryland. Another 1,400 students have enrolled in Advanced Placement computer science courses offered at 95 schools.  MSDE is leading the development of a PreK-12 Computer Science Framework and Toolkit that is planned for release in June 2016.  Other efforts are under way to provide more professional learning opportunities to Advanced Placement teachers and expand computer science education across the state.

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