With technology rapidly on the rise, artificial intelligence surfacing in business applications and big data creating a foundation in all our lives, coding is becoming the language of the 21st Century:
- According to code.org, there are nearly 600,000 unfilled computer programming jobs in the U.S… that number is expected to grow to over 1,000,000 by the turn of the decade.
- In the United States, we graduate about 50,000 computer science majors a year, while countries like India and China produce 1,000,000 programmers a year
- 58% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing, yet only 8% of STEM graduates are in computer science.
- Only 19% of the AP Computer Science exam takers were female.
Hard Skills & Soft Skills
The World Economic Forum reports these among the skills necessary thrive in the workplace in 2020 and beyond: complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, coordinating with others, and cognitive flexibility.1 These skills -- and so many more -- come to life for students in Aspen Academy's STEAM innovation labs and classrooms.
The Mission & Vision for Coding at Aspen Academy
At Aspen Academy, it's our vision that all after 7 years in the Aspen Computer Science Institute, 6th graders will be proficient in the world of computer coding. For us, proficiency includes: understanding all the foundational skills and terms of coding and be ready to move into the true creation stage of apps and websites.
All students from PreK to 3rd grade are exposed to STEAM with at least four classes a month, and grades 4th-8th take a semester of STEAM every year. Learning extends beyond the class and into student's homes as we invite parents into our STEAM labs with our Lower School STEAM Coach, Kelsey Sullivan, and Middle School STEAM Coach, Chris Lazartic, for a special Coding 101 class twice a year.
Bringing Coding from School to Home
Parents and grandparents enjoy coding workshops, learning the same skills that we teach our students. Interested in learning more about coding? Here are some online coding courses just for you! Visit to codehs.com and sign up as a student. Join the following courses:
- 67F05 - An hour of code with Karel the Dog. Start here if you are a beginner.
- 69825 - A more advanced, longer course with Karel.
- F67E0 - A full Introduction to Computer Science course
Questions about Coding? Share your questions or thoughts in the comments and we'll have our STEAM Coaches respond.
Can you imagine a space where kids are coding as young as four years old? A place where they take an ordinary picture they’ve drawn and use technology to make their picture come alive and talk? A space where they have to work as an engineering team to design a new invention? A place where students are taking their 2-D drawings and making them come to life through a 3-D model? You don’t have to imagine any of it as this type of space is a reality for all Aspen Academy students from Pre-K through 8th grade.
About the Contributors:
Chris Lazartic is the Middle School STEAM Coach and Student Leadership & Entrepreneurship Coach at Aspen Academy. Chris moved from Delaware to teach at Aspen Academy in 2010. He has a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor's degree in Earth Science Education. Chris loves that Aspen is a place that continues to inspire growth on both a personal and professional level. Outside of work, Chris can be found hiking, camping, disc golfing, skiing and traveling. Chris lives in Conifer, Colorado, with his wife, Elyse, their two dogs and horse.
Kelsey Sullivan is the Lower School STEAM Coach at Aspen Academy. Kelsey brings nine years of teaching to our school and begins her eighth year with Aspen in the fall. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Miami of Ohio and enjoys visiting her family, skiing, traveling, trying out new restaurants with her husband and anything "craftsy".
1. "The Skills You Need in 2020." Forbes, Aug 6, 2018.