Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation Gives Grant to ChickTech Missoula to expand Hour of Code
Missoula, MT. – December 5, 2016 – ChickTech, a non-profit organization that encourages girls and women to pursue careers in technology, is the recipient of a $1,500 grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. The gift will allow the volunteer-run organization to collaborate with the Flagship Program to provide after school coding programs to students at four MCPS elementary schools.
Starting in December 2016, the ChickTech: Missoula chapter and partners will deliver the Hour of Code curriculum to 140 MCPS elementary students at Franklin, Lewis and Clark, Lowell and Hawthorne Elementary schools. The after school sessions will be free of charge and open to all students on a first-come, first-serve basis. All sessions will held at school in the schools’ computer labs. ChickTech: Missoula Leadership Team Member Kathryn Grady spearheaded this project, building upon success delivering the Hour of Code curriculum and other coding classes at Lewis and Clark elementary for the past two school years.
After school coding clubs will then be offered at the schools starting in Winter 2017. The clubs will meet in four-week, one-hour sessions; the curriculum will come from code.org and madewithcode.com. Students will also view inspirational career videos to get exposed to cool career opportunities for coders. Later sessions will introduce the students to Java programming with booklets from BitsBox, containing 20+ app-design projects they can begin to construct. They can then take those booklets home to continue programming on their own.
“Missoula County Public Schools is excited to be partnering with ChickTech: Missoula in making an impact on the future of computer coding,” said Hatton Littman, Director of Technology and Communications for Missoula County Public Schools. “We love ChickTech’s model of engaging girls who might not see themselves as technically oriented in a program that pairs an effective education with industry role models. As a member of the leadership team, I am so thankful that we have dedicated, passionate leaders in Missoula who care about exposing all of our students to computational thinking and coding skills that will lead to future academic success.”
Depending on the demographics of the city where a Chicktech chapter is located, 50-70% of program participants have never dabbled in technology prior to attending one of its hands-on workshops. Survey data collected following a series of events for high school participants in 2015 indicates that participants who reported being “confident” or “very confident” in their technology skills increased from 27% to 74%, and those who were “interested” or “very interested” in a technology career jumped from 47% to 89% after just one weekend.
“This grant dramatically increases our ability to expand Hour of Code programming to four additional elementary schools. We are excited to partner with the Flagship program to expand this impactful program to more elementary students,” said Kathryn Grady, Leadership Team member of ChickTech: Missoula. “With their support we believe we can reach four times the number of students who can benefit from what we offer.”
This project is made possible by the support of ChickTech:Missoula, the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Flagship After School Program, and Missoula County Public Schools.