WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/553574

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Page 169 of 227

W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 5 168 through eighth grade to look for ways to fold in computer program- ming and make it accessible to all students. In terms of jrCode, says Marko, "Ruth and Nicole are the ones who did all the heavy lifting. Chris and I shaped the idea and asked Ruth and Nicole to run with it. They developed the kid-friendly curricu- lums and did the community outreach. They also brought a woman's perspective, as mothers of young kids." Ruth and Nicole, who have six kids from first to seventh grade between them, are both very involved in the school system in Wellesley. As a substitute teacher, Ruth has extensive experience teaching younger kids. Nicole also is extremely active in the local school system and the community. Ruth and Nicole have lived in town for eight and twelve years, respectively. As co-presidents of jrCode Academy, Ruth and Nicole oversee the day-to-day operations, teacher management, course development, and finances. Ruth even teaches a kindergarten Scratch class. The cost of classes—which is $275 to $350 for an eight-week session this fall — covers jrCode Academy's expenses as well as liability insur- ance and other business-related costs. "We even had enough money to "It was two families working together, and all four parents brought different skills to the table," says Ruth. The guys had the technological skills, while Nicole was the marketing guru, and Ruth knew how to put together class curriculums. To get the ball rolling, Ruth and Nicole sent out an email to their local contacts to see if there was interest in an introductory coding class for younger kids. They thought maybe six families would respond and that they could hold the classes in Ruth's basement, but one day and 25 email responses later, they realized this was a much bigger than they had originally thought. Now, the basement was out. Luckily, the Wellesley Community Center let them use their space. The group started offering a beginners' course in winter of 2015, just a few months after Marko had his "aha" moment. "I'm happy there is so much parental interest in programming," says Dr. Robert Cohen, a math and computer science teacher at Wellesley High School. He says he appreciates what jrCode is trying to do. Cohen notes that currently, there are three coding programs available at Wellesley High School: Exploring Computer Science, AP Computer Science Course 1, and Building Android Apps. Dr. Dean Blase, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the Wellesley Public Schools, says more coding pro- grams should be in the offering for younger students going forward. She notes that right now robotics courses held in the middle school use a lot of computer programming skills. Blase says that currently the school system is reviewing its math curriculum from kindergarten "there is so much parental interest in programming" family matters

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