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City Year shares the adventure of coding through Hour of Code

City Year AmeriCorps members facilitate Hour of Code for students

City Year, Hour of Code and digital learning opportunities

City Year is sharing fun and engaging Hour of Code activities with students nationwide for a fifth year as part of efforts to expand limited access to digital learning opportunities. Only an estimated quarter of schools offer computer science, even as more jobs demand programming skills, according to Code.org, the nonprofit behind Hour of Code.

The hour-long tutorials led by City Year AmeriCorps will help students practice the building blocks of programming by coding simple online games, mazes and animations during Computer Science Education Week from Dec. 9-15 and throughout the year. Hour of Code promotes computer science in more than 180 countries.

“We thought about how to open this world of computer science to students and Hour of Code was the perfect way,’’ says LaTasha Golden, City Year’s national afterschool specialist. “Students see coding is important. They say to themselves ‘I can do that.’’’

Students in New York City engaged in Hour of Code events with City Year last year.

City Year is supporting computer science activities at schools that often lack the resources to offer programming courses or enough computers to ensure all students can explore the fundamentals of coding. Along with Hour of Code, City Year organizes afterschool programs throughout the year related to science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics—called STEAM subjects—that inspire and shape students’ decisions about what to study or which career to pursue.

City Year AmeriCorps members use Hour of Code to pique students’ interest about jobs that need computer science skills and help relate those careers to students’ current interests, Golden says. Hour of Code also gives students more practice with decision-making, problem-solving and other social-emotional skills, and can be the first time some students are exposed to computer programming. Just as important, the fun activities tap students’ love of learning.

Learning more about how City Year AmeriCorps members help students to combat Math Anxiety using social and emotional supports.

Running coding and robotics events are among the ways that City Year supplements learning opportunities at systemically under-resourced schools, helping students stay on track to graduate high school with the skills they need for success in college and their careers. Fewer than a quarter of U.S. 12th graders attend schools with college-level Advanced Placement computer science courses, which position students to earn college credit while getting a foundation in computing principles. High school AP computer science students are twice as likely to study computer science in college at a time that the demand for computer-related jobs is on track to outpace many other occupations.

City Year AmeriCorps members commit to a year or more of full-time service, supporting the work of teachers in classrooms during the day and helping run activities and help with homework after school. This year, City Year AmeriCorps members will serve students in 350 schools in 29 U.S. cities.

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