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Students as young as pre-K learning computer coding through Dallas ISD STEM

Students are learning computer coding as young as pre-kindergarten.

Students are learning computer coding as young as pre-kindergarten. It is a trend happening at one elementary school in Pleasant Grove, where children are getting a very early introduction to STEM programs.

In Mrs. Rogers kindergarten class at Frederick Douglas Elementary School, five-year-old students are busy learning to code. In fact, computer coding and technology has become part of regular class instruction on the campus, since a pilot program was introduced last school year.

Students from pre-K to fifth grade are programming and developing apps.

"The kids love it,” said Allana Felder, the schools Science Instructional Coach. “They love getting on the computers.”

Teachers said these elementary school students are learning everything from the basics to beyond. Staff calls this early exposure to computer science a game changer for Dallas ISD.

“Statistics show that out of the stem discipline, technology and computer science is one of those that doesn’t have a high enrollment in the high schools and colleges," Felder explained.

Staff believes the skills are setting students up for scholarships and careers early on.

"It helps us with our future,” said third-grader Stephanie Medrano.

Dallas ISD is working to make Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.) a priority across campuses. Saturday, Jan. 20, the school district is hosting a STEM expo with hands-on exhibits and competitions. The Frederick Douglas students will be showcasing their talents too.

"One of the great things it affords our students is the opportunity to be 21st-century learners," said school principal Marquetta Masters.

Introducing the students to computers early is already helping to boost scores, groom problem solvers, and develop social skills.

"We’re excited about it,” Masters said. “The teachers are excited. The community is excited.”

The largest STEM Expo in Texas will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Saturday, Jan. 20. The event is for elementary, middle, and high school students and their parents.

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