Sisters Madeline & Margaret Paczkowski collaborate during CoderDojo, Albemarle's summer computer-programming academy

DATE:                  May 5, 2016
CONTACT:         Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE:              434-972-4049

Online Registration Begins for School Division’s Fifth Summer CoderDojo Academy This July

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Online registration for the 2016 Summer CoderDojo Academy at Albemarle High School began this week for morning and afternoon sessions during the weeks of July 12-15 and July 19-22.

The highly popular computer coding program is now in its fifth year and is expected to serve more than 700 public school students of all ages and expertise from throughout Albemarle County. Students will learn how to work in various computer languages, create computer apps and video games, design web sites, and gain programming experience.

Sessions this year will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. beginning Tuesday, July 12, and will operate for two weeks from Tuesday through Friday. Students need to reserve their space in the session in which they are interested at:

All sessions are free to Albemarle County Public Schools students. Students who live in the county but do not attend county schools also can participate by paying a $100 fee to partially offset program costs.

“Strands this year will focus on daily coding challenges that will push participants into more complex experiences,” said Ira Socol, Assistant Director of Educational Technology for the school division. “These include an elementary school-targeted focus on moving from Kodu to Scratch to work with LiveCode; a secondary school focus on coding with music and math and a ‘Hackosaurus’ theme around resource-based challenges. We also will provide a more advanced strand on work with microcomputers and 3D printing and a focus on computer software solutions for those who plan to join Student Help Desks in the fall,” he added.

CoderDojo is a global network of programming clubs for young people with a focus on community, peer learning, youth mentoring, and self-led learning. Among the lifelong-learning skills promoted by coding are analytical thinking, innovation and creativity, problem solving, and teamwork. One unique aspect of the program is its reliance upon students of all ages to work with and support one another, with adults concentrating on general supervision.

“We have arranged our sessions according to skill and experience levels, so there will be an appropriate session for every student,” said Vincent Scheivert, the school division’s Chief Information Officer. “We had great success in 2015 by conducting our program in Albemarle High School’s media center, and we will be returning to that location this year. It offers students access to a broad range of technology resources, more easily allows them to develop at their own pace, and it facilitates peer-to-peer mentoring,” he said.

Albemarle County was one of the first public school divisions in the nation to offer a CoderDojo program in 2012, when nearly 1,000 students competed for 200 seats. Since then, the program has been expanded, and last year, there were no waiting lists.

“The demand we’re seeing in our schools is not all that different from the demand we’re seeing throughout the country,” Scheivert said. “The need for computer science professionals is continuing to expand, because this field has such an important role in national security, economic development, education, and our overall quality of life,” he said.

“CoderDojos introduce students to the early development skills they need to succeed in these fields and can provide a strong interest in and enthusiasm for the industry. They are a powerful model for achieving our division’s strategic goal of unleashing every student’s potential,” Scheivert added.

For more information about Albemarle County’s CoderDojo program, visit: