Old Mill Middle School-South in Millersville, MD is the winner of the first “Maryland Hour of Code” contest and was presented a $10,000 award in education technology for its efforts to provide every child with computer coding experience.
Governor O’Malley, State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems President Gloria A. Flach made the presentation last week.
“Ensuring that our students are prepared to compete in the economy of tomorrow is an important part of strengthening STEM education in Maryland,” O’Malley said. “The Maryland Hour of Code contest is an opportunity for our students to broaden their skills, learn about new, cutting edge technology and explore opportunities in computer science. Together, we can ensure that every child in our State has the resources they need to compete not just nationally, but globally as well.”
The Maryland State Department of Education launched the contest last month with business partner Northrop Grumman as a way to spark interest in computer coding as part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. The coding contest aimed to provide each student with at least one hour of computer coding experience during Computer Science Education Week Dec. 8-14.
MSDE worked with Code.org and national nonprofit Donors Choose to organize the contest with the goal of exposing students statewide to computer science and coding. Code.org offers its own annual Hour of Code contest, which awards $10,000 in classroom technology to one school in each state.
“We cannot thank our business partners enough for supporting our students and ensuring they are exposed to in-demand career skills,” said Dr. Lowery. “Old Mill students learned that computer coding can lead to many exciting careers and can be used to apply math and science in interesting and meaningful ways.”
The Maryland Hour of Code contest challenged public school teachers to develop computer coding activities and implementation plans for students of all abilities. More than 100 Maryland elementary and secondary schools applied for the $10,000 award, which was awarded in the form of DonorsChoose.org funding credits.
Currently, 4,000 of Maryland’s 870,000 public school students are enrolled in computer science and programming-related courses in career and technical education programs at 39 high schools in Maryland. Another 1,200 students have enrolled in Advanced Placement computer science courses offered at 117 schools. Maryland had the most African American students take the AP Computer Science exam in 2013. Additionally, Maryland ranks among the top eight states for the number of Hispanic students who took the AP Computer Science exam in 2013.
“A strong STEM educational base is critical to the economy of Maryland and critical to the technology leadership of the United States,” Flach said. “That’s why Northrop Grumman is pleased to sponsor the first-ever Maryland Hour of Code contest intended to encourage student interest in computer science and related career fields.”