Iowans take a big “byte” of coding

Lt. Governor Reynolds speaks at Jordan Creek Elementary School
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council, joins Governor Terry Branstad in launching Computer Science Education Week earlier this month with more than 750 students at Jordan Creek Elementary School.

Early December’s celebration of computer science in Iowa worked to inspire thousands of students across the state to try a “byte” of the computer programming world.

Computer Science Education Week in Iowa began Dec. 7 when Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council, kicked off a coding assembly at Jordan Creek Elementary School. Executive Director Dr. Jeff Weld joined by Aaron Witt, a sixth-grade teacher, and two of Witt’s students talked about the importance of coding in Iowa schools to meet the demand of future jobs.

Later that morning, the STEM Council announced the names of six Iowa schools that received a combined $30,000 in technology awards for their participation in’s international challenge called the “Hour of Code.” This partnership, referred to as “Code Iowa,” localizes’s effort to introduce 100 million students around the world to at least one hour of computer coding. In Iowa, participation doubled from last year with 937 schools and organizations, amounting to thousands of students, that took part in the “Hour of Code” during Computer Science Education Week.

Each year, awards one school in each state with a $10,000 technology award based on its proposal that outlines how the school plans to implement an hour of computer coding into its curriculum for every grade level. With the support of Google, the STEM Council partnered with to award $4,000 each to five more schools – one in each STEM region that did not receive the award. The six recipients of the technology awards will use the money to purchase new instructional technology.

All public and private schools in Iowa that registered for the “Hour of Code” are Certified Code Iowa Partners of the STEM Council and will receive information about free K-5 Computer Science teacher workshops to be offered in early 2016. If your school participated in the “Hour of Code,” send us an e-mail at to learn more and receive your certificate.

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