6th graders to gain coding experience

6th graders to gain coding experience

The Arkansas Department of Education’s Office of Computer Science is introducing a new program — “Read, Code, Create” — for middle school students and teachers across the state.

“Read, Code, Create” is designed to expose students to the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math while boosting both literacy and critical-thinking skills.

Each sixth grade building is sending a teacher to training. The teacher will receive a classroom set of “My Life As a Coder.”

Teachers attending the training will also receive hands-on experiences in content integration through reading, coding and creating. In addition, teachers will have access to check out a classroom set of coding devices.

Kelly Griffin, director of the agency’s Office of Computer Science, said the program will enable students to enjoy reading while also learning about computer science.

“It is our hope that this integration of literacy, engineering, and computer science will inspire Arkansas teachers to continue embracing computer science in all subject areas,” Griffin said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson applauded the initiative “that will increase the opportunity for our younger students to learn about coding and the opportunities in life that coding brings.”

Hearing on school safety rules is set

A public hearing on proposed rules governing school safety is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Arch Ford Education Building, 4 Capitol Mall, in Little Rock.

The eight-page draft rules deal with requirements for safety assessments, emergency drills, the use of school resource officers, reporting responsibilities and distribution of school safety funds.

The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education had previously hosted a hearing on the draft rules, but that was followed by an announcement on the availability of funding for school safety, making alterations to the draft rules necessary and prompting the need for a second, upcoming public comment period.

Written comments may be emailed to ADE.RulesComments@ade.arkansas.gov or mailed to Arkansas Department of Education Legal Services, 4 Capitol Mall, Room 302A, Little Rock, AR 72201.

A copy of the proposed rules is available at https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/legal/rules/pending.

Copies may be obtained by contacting the agency’s Legal Services Unit at the above address or via telephone at (501) 682-4227.

The public comment period will end at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2023.

LR district honored for energy savings

The National Association of Energy Service Companies and partner Performance Services last week presented the Little Rock School District with an award and a ceremonial check for the district’s efforts to make buildings more energy efficient.

Timothy Unruh, executive director of the national association, presented the organization award to Little Rock district leaders at a ceremony at Stephens Elementary School. The organization will make a donation to a charitable entity of the district’s choice.

The National Association of Energy Service Companies Award honors the achievements of and recognizes exemplary projects from member companies that show the full potential of public-private partnerships, according to information from the school district.

Efforts recognized by the award include significant or unique savings, innovative project approaches or technology uses, overcoming significant project obstacles, achieving environmental justice goals, and incorporating community development and outreach.

The school district began its energy efficiency initiative in 2017, replacing exterior lighting with LED high-efficiency lighting district-wide, and upgrading significant equipment and controls at six district locations. The work included replacement of inefficient heating and air conditioning equipment, interior lighting upgrades and weatherization improvements.

Stephens Elementary was selected as the host site for Wednesday’s event because it had been one of the district’s biggest energy consumers prior to the upgrades.

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