The Blueprint for the State
Loess Hill’s Computer Programming Specialty School
The Blueprint for the State serves as guide for schools as they embark upon a journey that transforms the delivery of instruction. The Blueprint chronicles the Sioux City’s Loess Hills Elementary School’s journey resulting in one of the country’s first computer programming elementary schools.
Computer Science is a broad field. At Loess Hills, a computer programming focus provided a foundation. Over time, student learning expanded into other facets of computer science, beyond computer programming.
The Blueprint for the State contains:
- Loess Hill’s Computer Programming Specialty School Plan
The essential components for implementation contained in the specialty school plan provide a guide as schools begin planning for a school transformation.
- Scope and Sequence
Teachers developed a scope and sequence for computer programming concepts and skills for grades kindergarten through 5th grade. The scope and sequence covers one school year. Computer programming skills and concepts weave throughout instruction and enhance Iowa Core standards.
- Implementation Rubric
After converting into a computer programming school, the implementation rubric provides logical next steps for development to reach exemplary status.
The timeline provides the steps taken in chronological order at Loess Hills.
Steps included in The Blueprint for the State cause Loess Hills Elementary School students to be equipped with 21st century skills. Classrooms center teaching around the Iowa Core standards and incorporate collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving into instruction with a concentrated focus on computer programming. This forward thinking model has helped us raise proficiency rates on the Iowa Assessments showing increases in math this year of 4.8% and reading .77%. Fall Curriculum-Based Measurements for Reading (CBM-R) show an increase from 2015-2017 of 12%. In 2017-18, Loess Hills Elementary students in grades Kindergarten through 5 increased scores on the CBM-R from fall to spring by 9%.
Not only have instruction and student achievement been impacted, but enrollment has been impacted also. Comparing the initial year, 2014, to the 2018 enrollment shows an increase of 93 students. While the students identified as white remain at 42% and Asian at 11%, there has been an increase in populations of students identified as American Indian, Black or African American, and two or more races. Attendance at parental involvement activities involving computer programming shows an increase each year.
Finally, as our students advance to middle school, they are better skilled at computer programming and can advance to higher levels as they enroll in computer