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LP County Schools Hold First Ever Successful Week of Code

All La Porte County public schools celebrated the National Week of Code December 3rd – 7th by
conducting coding activities at every grade level from Pre-K to High School Seniors. Nearly
12,000 students, which is almost 70% of all students in La Porte County, participated in some
capacity! The Hour of Code started as a worldwide effort designed to introduce students to
computer science and demystify “computer coding.” For the past three years, talented teachers
in each school corporation, have participated in some type of coding experience. This year, for
the first time, all La Porte County public school corporations coordinated efforts and resources
for cool coding experiences throughout the week. “Coding teaches problem solving,
communication & how things work. We want our kids to have an advantage, not be behind when
they graduate.” stated Maggi Spartz, Unity Foundation president. Unity Foundation, with the
help of Professional Volunteer, Linda Wiltfong helped to coordinate the Week of Code as a
partner in the La Porte County Skill UP grant.

The La Porte County Public Library helped school corporations by training educators in skills
identified in the Indiana Academic Standards. Retired educators and engineers were also
trained to provide some of the in-school experiences. The skills associated with coding help
students develop academic skills, and build qualities like perseverance, organization, problem
solving, and communication. The goal is to help students gain valuable 21st century skills and to
create a talent pipeline of employees for the county and region. Fonda Owens, LP County
Public Library Executive Director states, “We are happy to be advancing the resources for
STEM in our County and hope that by providing technology and training for our educators. We
can help them meet the new required Indiana Academic Standards. Our local educators are
phenomenal, and we enjoy every opportunity to work together to set up our community’s
children for success.”

Mayor Mark Krentz even participated in Week of Code with pre-school students at the La Porte
County Public Library. Free coding programs were also available to give students an idea of
how coding works were offered by the Library at most of their branches during the Week of
Code.

The La Porte County Skill UP Network, a county-wide effort, emerged when Mayor Ron Meer of
Michigan City, La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz, with leadership from the Center of Workforce
Innovations along with the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, came together to apply for a
Skill UP 3 grant from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The La Porte County
Skill UP Network brings together economic developers, many employers, K-12 education,
Purdue Northwest and Ivy Tech, the Unity Foundation, and the La Porte County Public Library
to create a talent pipeline, with an initial focus on manufacturers in La Porte County. For more
information on the La Porte County Skill UP Network, contact Sandy Alvarez at 219-462-2940 or
the Unity Foundation at 219-879-0327.

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