Boeing Presentation

OPSF & CTE Awarded $50,000 Boeing Company Grant

The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and the Okaloosa County School District’s Career and Technical Education Department announced today that it has been awarded a $50,000 Kids’ C.O.D.E. (Creative Online Developmental Education) grant from the Boeing Company to help spark elementary-age students’ interest and knowledge in programming through hands-on manipulatives.

Marcus Chambers, Superintendent of Schools, stated, “I am grateful to Boeing for awarding us this grant because providing elementary students with a head start in coding has been my mission. It is critical to develop computer science basics for all students as computer skills are necessary for any career path in which they choose. By not preparing our students with fluency in this language, we are leaving our students with a gap in career-readiness.” Our goal is to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in STEM,” said Ingrid Piedrahita, community investor for Boeing in Florida. “We want to encourage Florida students to dream big and access the tools necessary to succeed, and Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation’s C.O.D.E initiative gives students a head start to do just that.”

Along with the Boeing grant, the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation matched a portion of the grant in the amount of $24,000. The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, Inc. (OPSF) is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation. Cindy Gates, Executive Director of the OPSF, stated, “The Foundation is very happy to be able to provide this match. We are excited to be a part of the School District’s focus on teaching programming in the elementary schools and look forward to seeing the success of this critical investment.”

The Kids’ C.O.D.E. initiative focuses on engaging students in programming in grades 3-5 and will give students the tools to learn coding through hands-on play. Using the littleBits® Coding Kit, students manipulate physical blocks for input, outputs, motors, and sensors. By completing educational games and STEM activities, students gain hands-on coding experience, creativity, and confidence. As the students' progress through the program and grade levels, the student will become better versed in coding in hopes of encouraging them to enroll in future CTE courses, where they can earn industry certifications. The littleBits® Coding Kits lend themselves to years of use and academic development.

April Branscome, Career & Technical Education Program Director, had this to say, “By introducing coding to children at an earlier age, we are not only allowing them to become more comfortable with computers, but also are allowing them to become more successful when presented with challenging learning opportunities.” Kids’ C.O.D.E will close this gap by introducing coding skills to 3,000 students in grades 3-5 at 21 elementary schools in Okaloosa County.

Kids’ C.O.D.E will engage students with coding at an earlier age and will provide OCSD students with more time to prepare for future success. This project is meeting the components of the FLDOE’s strategic plan which states students should gain “higher achievement with computer skills, critical thinking, data analysis, technical writing, problem solving, math/science concepts and collaborative learning while preparing them as a “HIGHLY” skilled workforce because not preparing our students with fluency in this language is leaving our students unprepared for the changing workforce.

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About the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF):

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation. It is a partnership between families, schools, community, and business. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County. Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards. For more information about Take Stock in Children and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, visit www.OkaloosaSchools.com/OPSF.

About The Boeing Company:

The Boeing Company is the world's largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As the top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth. For more information, visit www.boeing.com.