15 school districts will soon be coding

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FAYETTE – Fayette High School Teacher Kevin Pekkarinen was offered a challenge to teach a new class. He accepted, and now, the same challenge will soon be coming to 15 rural Missouri schools.

The application to participate in Code Missouri, a comprehensive teaching platform that will be offered to 15 rural Missouri school districts for free, ended yesterday.

Pekkarinen and Fayette High School served as the pilot program for Code Missouri.

“This is the first year I’ve been teaching computer science,” Pekkarinen said. It definitely gives students an opportunity to learn skills they otherwise wouldn’t have learned.”

CEO and co-founder Jeremy Keeshin said the applicant numbers exceeded expectations. 

“We are almost at 40 [applicants], that is way more than we thought,” Keeshin said just hours before applications were due.

Keeshin said 37 school districts had already applied by midday Wednesday.

Overall, accepted school districts will receive the CodeHS pro curriculum, as well as professional development training for teachers, a computer science curriculum pathway and ongoing support. For Pekkarinen, the opportunity has already had a significant impact on his students.

“The students that are taking the class are really enjoying it,” Pekkarinen said. “A lot of people don’t realize how many jobs are out there that use programming or coding.”

Pekkarinen’s class has been working with the CodeHS program all semester. They started with JavaScript, and now, as the semester comes to a close, his students are moving toward app development.

“Right now, we are working on some individual projects, and they are really showing their creative side” Pekkarinen said. “It has just been really fun for me being able to teach them a little and see where they take it.”   

The 15 school district’s applications will be evaluated before a decision is made on which will receive the free program. The names of those specific applicants were not disclosed.