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OSSE Celebrates Young Coders at Aug. 17 Virtual App Showcase Following DC Can Code Summer Program

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Office of the State of Education (OSSE) spotlighted and celebrated the ingenuity of DC’s aspiring computer scientists on Aug. 17 at its second-annual Virtual App Showcase, which gives rising ninth graders and high school students focused on information technology (IT) and engineering a chance to present their ideas and share their solutions with peers, families and the community.

This summer, 250 students at public and public charter schools in the District participated in DC Can Code, a virtual summer coding camp and internship that was designed to build awareness and excitement for high school CTE programs among middle school students entering ninth grade and current Career and Technical Education (CTE) IT and Engineering concentrators. At the Aug. 17 showcase, four students demonstrated the apps they designed during the program: Jordan Williams of Wilson High School with her Agenda Associate app; Jaila Walker of IDEA Public Charter School with her Build Your Own Hero app; Janae Massey of Friendship Tech Prep PCS with her World of Dance app; and Autumn Sutton of Cesar Chavez PCS, Cole Murphy of KIPP Key Academy PCS, and Xochitl Biles of Duke Ellington School of the Arts with their Hip Translator app.

“CTE programs such as DC Can Code are aligned with high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers, providing an invaluable experience to our students,” said State Superintendent Grant. “As the tech industry continues to grow, especially now, our students are gaining knowledge about coding using one of the world’s most popular programming languages and getting a chance to collaborate with like-minded peers while making connections in higher education and the tech industry.”

During the summer program, students learned all aspects of application development with the Swift, programming language and then used that knowledge to create and prototype apps.

Rising ninth graders could participate in a two-week program that introduced students to coding concepts and learning to code using the Swift Playgrounds app. Students used iPad to prototype apps in small and large learning communities. Apple's Everyone Can Code curriculum was used and instructors included a host of interactive and challenging activities from Swift Playgrounds. 

High school students focused on CTE IT and Engineering could participate in a six-week program connected to the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program that included career exploration, virtual job shadowing and networking with IT industry professionals. Students also learned foundational coding concepts; leading to more advanced code concepts, and then used iPad to prototype apps in small and large virtual learning communities.

On average, students increase their entry-wage earning potential by 7 percent for each advanced CTE course taken. OSSE in the spring released its new CTE State Plan, which sets a bold vision for college and career programs across Washington, DC. Through the planning process, OSSE has engaged hundreds of stakeholders to develop 42 comprehensive programs of study, 107 industry-validated course-level standards to ensure appropriate task training, a rapid expansion of work-based learning opportunities for students, and Industry Recognized Credentials and/or college credit for each program of study.

The DC Can Code Virtual App Showcase was held online, Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Visit OSSE’s website for more information on OSSE Career and Technical Education and DC Can Code.