No Bugs at Kingsport City Schools, District Cracks Code to Win Grant

Emerald Data Solutions Selects Tennessee School District to Pioneer Computer Science Program

Atlanta, GA (May 6, 2016) — So much of our world is dominated by code, but the coding language is seldom taken seriously, especially in Elementary schools. That's why Atlanta-based tech company Emerald Data Solutions™, Inc., makers of BoardDocs® next-generation board management solutions, is spearheading a breakthrough Computer Science program designed to tightly integrate coding into Elementary classrooms nationwide. The Company is starting with a grant to deserving school district and contest winner Kingsport City Schools, Tennessee.

Late last year, school systems across the nation applied for the grant that will provide a computer science curriculum to teach coding, plus an instructor to help train teachers to use it. This is where Grant Smith enters the story, a teacher from an Arizona school district where all students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches - a measure of poverty. He began teaching coding to primary school students, then implemented coding classes for all 5,600 elementary students there.

Emerald Data Solutions hired Smith to help carry out this vision nationwide. "With this grant, I am able to train new coding teachers, provide outstanding curriculum and share best practices with school leaders," Smith said. "Within the first year, these districts are going from zero to hero - from offering no coding to making the new program available to all students, in all grade levels."

"Every schoolchild needs to learn computer coding as much as he or she needs to learn English," says Emerald Data Solutions President Ari Ioannides, who is backing up his belief to the tune of at least a million dollars. “Our goal is that all Elementary school students in the United States will learn coding, and we’re providing the resources to get that done. In an age-appropriate manner, we will show them the building blocks.”

The grant contest winner, Kingsport City Schools, is located in the Northeastern corner of the Tennessee, the “Volunteer State.” Although the overall ratio for free or reduced lunch recipients is 54% of the students, Emerald Data Solutions will be focusing efforts on the schools with extreme poverty. Some of these schools are made of populations where 90%+ students receive free or reduced lunch.

"I recently returned from the National School Board Association's Annual Conference, where I attended several sessions on the importance of coding and was eager to share the fantastic coding initiative program I'd discovered there," said Carrie Upshaw, Kingsport Board of Education President. "Imagine my surprise and excitement when I found out we had been selected to be a part of that very program!"

In the grant application, Kingsport representatives laid out a plan for implementing required coding classes at the K-5 level with strong computer science classes offered at the middle school level. The curriculum they will adopt is now being refined in the Park City, Utah School District, in addition to the one where Smith taught in Arizona. Emerald Data Solutions will be making the curriculum it developed available to any school system for free.

For more information about the free Coding Curriculum, contact Grant Smith at gsmith@boarddocs.com.

About Kingsport City Schools
Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school and a non-traditional school; with total enrollment over 7,100 students. KCS has been named the top school district in Tennessee as winner of the 2014 SCORE Prize District Award by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and has earned the 2014 Achievement Award in the annual Excellence in Tennessee Recognition Program by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNPCE).

 

* The Elementary School Coding Inniative poineered by Emerald Data Solutions is now being continued by BootUP PD. Visit https://bootuppd.org for more information.