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Coding for Kids is expanding in Stevensville
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Coding for Kids is expanding in Stevensville

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Coding for Kids is expanding in Stevensville

Coding for Kids in Stevensville has received grant funds to expand its program for high school students in the Bitterroot Valley. (2019 file photo)

Coding for Kids, a Stevensville-based Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) program, has received significant new grant funds to expand its program for high school students in the Bitterroot Valley.

Dedicated, local community members, plus high-tech associates, valued foundation supporters, and the Stevensville School have combined to build an elementary-through-high school computer-oriented after-school and summer program — Coding for Kids (C4K).

This perfect storm has recently come to fruition due to a committed, energetic team of Stevensville citizens, all of whom want to see their community’s children have employment opportunities that strongly surpass what is currently available in Montana. But, with the twist.

C4K has garnered all the right tools to assist their children in becoming competent and competitive in the ever-burgeoning computer and technology worlds that lay beyond their small town in Montana by keeping those same kids right here in their own communities throughout the Bitterroot Valley.

As a local nonprofit organization, C4K has offered computer-oriented after-school, and summer classes to elementary and middle school students in the Bitterroot Valley for the past three years. With the final pieces recently falling into place through the generous support from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Jane S. Heman Foundation, and the Rapp Family Foundation, Coding for Kids will open its cyber doors this coming summer to high school students as well.

Dr. Robert Moore, superintendent, Stevensville Schools, is in full support of this expansion stating, “The Stevensville School District greatly appreciates the grant-funded ‘jumpstart’ that Coding for Kids will be offering to our high school students over the next three years. The introduction of advanced STEAM classes, coupled with the partnerships of local technological companies in providing mentorships/internships, helps ensure our students have future-ready entrepreneurial and educational skills which are key to success in our community.”

Classes involving more advanced instruction such as Java/Python programming, drone construction and piloting, e-commerce, CAD/CAM, film, and video editing, will be offered to the next generation of local students. With these courses they will be capable of competing for the best tech jobs both at home and beyond.

Coupled with the foundation grants, C4K is partnering with several high-technology companies in the area: Skyfish, Stevensville (https://www.facebook.com/skyfishai/), LMG Security, Missoula (https://www.lmgsecurity.com/), Advanced Technology Group, a Cognizant Company, Missoula (https://atginfo.com/), and Montana Studios, Stevensville (https://montanastudios.com/). These companies have agreed to collaborate with C4K in designing course curricula, providing mentors, and offering summer internships to participating students. Lynn-Wood Fields, marketing producer for Montana Studios comments that, “Montana Studios is excited to partner with Coding for Kids. We believe strongly in community, education and creating film jobs for the next generation of Montanans. It is with great honor that we endorse and will work to help build this program successfully.”

The keystone allowing everything to be locked into place is the agreement with Stevensville High School for computer use and class-room space at no cost. This has been followed by the Stevensville High School Tech Center’s invitation to freely access the center when it opens. In addition, after three years, Stevensville High School has plans for the C4K program to become incorporated into the school’s curriculum, assuring that many Stevensville and Bitterroot Valley high school graduates will be working in, and growing their local communities for years to come.

Eric Larson, Career and Technical Education Director, Stevensville Schools in enthused about the upcoming opportunities.

“Offering our students crosscutting educational experiences that prepare them for the future can only help shape that future in a positive way,” Larson said. “Couple this mentality with the ever-growing demand for highly-skilled people in the continually expanding technology field and you will find programs like Coding for Kids at the very center. I am extremely excited about what the future holds for Stevensville students and thank the many dedicated people, companies, and foundations for their commitment to ensure this program succeeds.”

For more information contact: Dr. Loey Knapp at 406-529-9715 or Greg Trangmoe at 406-880-2009 or email contact@codingstevensville.net.

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