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Five more Brooklyn schools to teach young kids computer science

Coding, Robotics Starting in Kindergarten

August 18, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Five more Brooklyn schools have joined a NYC program teaching beginning computer coding and robotics to kids starting in kindergarten. Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Education
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Starting in September, five more elementary schools in Brooklyn will be participating in an innovative NYC computer science program where kids will be learning coding and robotics starting in kindergarten.

On Wednesday Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña released the list of a dozen elementary schools across the city that will be joining the Software Engineering Program Junior (SEPjr) for the 2017-18 school year, in addition to the 11 that participated in 2016-17.

The Brooklyn schools joining the program this year are: P.S. 16 Leonard Dunkly School in Williamsburg, P.S. 5 Dr. Ronald McNair in Bedford-Stuyvesant, P.S. 254 Dag Hammarskjold School in Sheepshead Bay, P.S. 315 in West Midwood and Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

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In SEPjr students in kindergarten through 5th grade gain a foundation in computer science concepts through both computer-based and real world activities — including coding using blocks, programming “robotic friends” in the class to complete a task and learning about loops and functions through song and dance — a particularly popular activity with the youngsters.

SEPjr is part of the city’s Computer Science for All initiative, which aims to bring computer science to every elementary, middle and high school by 2025.

“SEPjr is a one-of-a-kind program, and it demonstrates our commitment to Computer Science for All – which means providing even our youngest learners with the opportunity to learn valuable CS concepts and improve skills like collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving,” Fariña said in a statement.

While STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies are a citywide initiative, the bulk of the city’s new Computer Science for All programs launched in Brooklyn, Fariña told the Brooklyn Eagle last September.

“Brooklyn was the borough that started Black Girls Who Code,” she said, adding that Borough President Eric Adams is “very committed” to computer science programs in the schools.

Brooklyn officials applauded the expansion of the program.

“Early access and hands on learning is the foundation for developing a life-long love of learning. This is especially true of computer sciences and technology,” state Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan (Bushwick, Williamsburg) said in a statement. “SEPjr gives Brooklyn elementary students the unique opportunity to see and experience a computer as more than just a complex tool.”

 “The teaching of computer science skills to all students is long overdue. This program will undoubtedly give our students a leg up on other students throughout the country,” said Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (Greenpoint, Williamsburg).

“Initiatives like Computer Science for All and the Software Engineering Program Junior help build a foundation for children to learn computer science and coding, while honing skills that are sought after in today’s and tomorrow’s job market,” U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez said.

In addition to the five Brooklyn schools joining the program, two schools in Manhattan, two in the Bronx and three in Queens will be participating for the first time.

Brooklyn elementary schools joining the program in 2016 include Brooklyn Arbor School, Emma L. Johnston School and The Academy of Talented Scholars.

The program is being implemented through public-private partnerships facilitated by the Fund for Public Schools.

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