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News from the Foundation

Posted: April 2, 2018

Every Kid Can Code

North Star Elementary School is using money from the Success Award to teach students coding and robotics.

In the fall of 2017, North Star Elementary School was awarded a $25,000 Success Award from the APS Education Foundation after submitting an online application and presenting the “Every Kid Can Code” program to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Misty Jaquez-Smith, Principal of North Star Elementary, said, “Anthony Lupinetti [of Open Source Kids] was a parent volunteer at North Star, and he taught some coding and robotics in various classes throughout the school. It started with him teaching in his own children’s classroom, and when the teachers saw how amazing the program was, they would see if he would be willing to go into their class to expose their children to this important information.

"Anthony and I started talking about what the possibilities were to completely expand the program, and we decided that we wanted to try it school-wide. We knew that it was going to be difficult to reach every single classroom so we thought that we would just start on a bi-weekly basis, but with the limited amount of equipment that he had, we knew that we needed to tap into a larger resource so that we could really expand the program. That’s when we saw the Success Award and we decided to apply and we were so pleased that we were the recipients. We’ve been able to expand the program to where every single classroom at North Star has coding and robotics. It’s been amazing.”

Mr. Lupinetti said, “This program will provide the students with fundamental knowledge in computer science, things like logic, how to think through a problem, how to make decisions, ‘if’s, ‘and’s, ‘or’s, how to make computers seem like their smart by making decisions, how to break apart problems, how to think critically, how to actually code in a real-life coding language, be it Scratch or Python programming language. They can actually make real-life programs all on their own.” 

On February 26, the APS Education Foundation Board of Directors invited donors to learn more about the program and to see how it has already impacted the students at North Star.

Clif Rinaldi of Grand Canyon University talked about why their investment and partnership with the Foundation continues to make sense. “At Grand Canyon University," he said, “we work with teachers to further their education. We’re in the schools, talking to the teachers, helping them excel to the next level to teach these students these technologies that the APS Education Foundation is helping them with.”

The Foundation is currently reviewing applications from APS administrators and teachers for the spring cycle of Success Awards to find innovative and impactful projects and programs in which to invest donor dollars.