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St. Louis nonprofit looks for schools to participate in new coding curriculum for students

The pilot program with juniors and seniors launched in five schools: Vashon, Gateway STEM, KIPP St. Louis, Affton and Rosati-Kain

ST. LOUIS — In a chaotic academic school year, Leah Knobbe has found joy in her coding class. 

"I love this class so much. I thought I wouldn’t like it. I just took it to impress my dad because he codes, but I fell in love with it," Knobbe said.

This junior at Rosati-Kain is one of 90 students taking a newly offered course throughout the St. Louis area. 

LaunchCode offers free technology education to adults.

But now, it's involved with high schools.  

It all stems from an education bill passed in 2018.

VP of Education and Technology, Chris Bay says, "For the first time, it allows computer classes to count for a STEM credit towards graduation. Before that, it was just electives. It also provided teacher training funds and they can get training to teach computer science. We started our first high school program this past school year."

Teachers were trained over several months and were given a curriculum.

The pilot program with juniors and seniors launched in five schools:

  • Vashon
  • Gateway STEM
  • KIPP St. Louis
  • Affton
  • Rosati-Kain
Credit: Abby McGillicuddy

As an all-girls school, math and computer science teacher Abby McGillicuddy knew this was needed.

"I’ve got all girls, we’ll take it. We always hear how coding is not for women in the workplace and many are now trying to recruit women coders, so we’ve really strived to give those opportunities to our girls," McGillicuddy said. 

LaunchCode wants to continue helping more students with its free curriculum. 

Right now, it's looking for more schools to join. 

"We’re just trying to get more schools involved," Bay said. 

The program wants to double the number of participants from last year. 

Jumping that total from five to 10 to 12 schools this 2021-2022 school year.

Through LaunchCode, it wants to expand even more minds and create more opportunities for future generations.

"It’s a really stable career for folks to get into. There are literally thousands of tech jobs in Missouri right now and that gap is widening year after year," Bay said. 

If you're interested in your school joining, you can click here.