For Immediate Release
Ignition Media Group
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University Prep Schools Celebrates International “Hour of Code” with Students
Detroit charter school system recognizes Computer Science Education Week with coding activities
Detroit, Mich. (December 10, 2014) – University Prep Schools, one of Detroit’s longest-standing charter school systems, will host “Hour of Code” events within both of its districts at University Prep Academy Middle School (UPA M.S.) on Thursday, Dec. 11 and University Prep Science& Math High School (UPSM H.S.) throughout the week of Dec. 8 through Dec. 12. A global endeavor, there are currently 65,013 of these events scheduled to take place this year in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of computer science.
Although both districts will be engaged in the movement, each school will offer its own supplemental features. UPA M.S. has partnered with Kidpreneur – a Michigan-based organization that provides kids classes on how to code, program robots and design websites – to help its 250 seventh and eighth graders perform hands-on activities and write code in place of math for the day. Additionally, Marlin Page, founder of Sister Code, a global social enterprise, will host a discussion for UPA parents on the importance of coding and how to better engage students in science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields. In its second year of participation, UPSM H.S. will host the hour for all of its 395 students within each of their computer classes throughout the week. The high school is writing a computer game based on the Disney film, “Frozen,” which is the same program that President Obama created on Monday, Dec. 8, in celebration of the movement. Both districts will also be using drag-and-drop programming to make their own Flappy Bird game, and then customize it to look different (Flappy Shark, Flappy Santa, etc.).
“Despite the fact that this is University Prep Academy’s first year participating in the campaign, our students are already eager to jump in and learn the basics of coding,” said Aisha Scott, principal of University Prep Academy Middle School. “Computer science helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity, and it’s an invaluable skill for these kids to have as they move toward successful careers in any field.”
Started in 2013, the grassroots campaign aims to help raise awareness of coding through the assistance of schools and communities across the globe from Dec. 8 through Dec. 14, in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. Available to anyone ages four and up from every experience-level, the organization’s website offers a variety of self-guided tutorials from which participants are invited to select. Teachers are provided with resources and videos to aid in introducing and conducting the activity.
“After our students’ tremendous reception of the program last year, we’re excited to once again be participating in the ‘Hour of Code’,” said Ellen Mey, digital media and design teacher at University Prep Science & Math High School. “As a district that is focused on emphasizing the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts and math, this campaign embodies the ideals on which University Prep Science & Math’s schools were founded.”
The event is organized by Code.org, a public 501c3 non-profit that hopes to make computer science courses available in more schools, while also increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Partners of the program include Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, among other notable supporters. Several high-profile figures such as President Barack Obama; Usher, international recording artist; Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO; Ashton Kutcher, actor and tech investor; and Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square co-founder; have spoken on behalf of the initiative as well.
About University Prep Schools
Known as one of Detroit’s longest-standing charter school systems, University Prep Schools (U Prep Schools) launched in 2000, with the opening of its first tuition-free public charter, University Prep Academy High School. Today, the University Prep Schools network is comprised of two districts, University Prep Academy (UPA) and University Prep Science & Math (UPSM), and seven campuses. Serving more than 3,000 students, the University Prep Schools system prepares students for the world around them through a unique combination of individualized and expeditionary learning models that extends education beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. The schools foster a holistic approach to learning that is rooted in providing its students access, opportunity and success. Follow University Prep Schools on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UniversityPrepSchools and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UPrepSchools. For more information about University Prep schools, visit www.uprepschools.com.