Florence One high schools offering new coding program

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence School District One is the second school district in South Carolina next to Lexington to implement the coding program in its school district.

The coding program will be offered at all three high schools: West Florence, South Florence and Wilson high schools. The goal is to prepare students for jobs of the future, which district officials believe involves coding.

This four-year course will teach students what makes it possible to create computer software, apps on mobile phones and websites like Facebook.

The coding program was introduced to the school district last year from Florence One's director of secondary education, Dr. Kelvin Wymbs. All three computer instructors at each high school got involved and received the professional development to bring the courses to their schools.

"It gives students the opportunity to express those critical thinking skills and those analytical skills," said Tasha Davis, a business technology teacher at Wilson High School.

Davis has a background in computer science and believes her passion is for computer technology and is excited about the coding program.

"It's so engaging that you get what they call catch the 'coding bug' so it makes students want to learn more and do more about actual coding," she said.

Each student who goes through the four-year coding program is required to do an internship their senior year. Stephanie Rogers-Samuel, with the Florence Career Center, said the students will be teamed up with Hill South IT Solutions in Florence for a hands-on experience learning in the field along with FSD1's IT department.

"I've been teaching computer programming and what made me want to get involved heavily was because of the apps. Students right now are so wanting to know about gaming. That's the biggest thing and technology is going to be so innovative for the future," said Rogers-Samuel.

The Florence Career Center is available for every student to prepare for a job after high school.

"I'm actually teaching I. B. A this semester and I have some of my coding students for the future. They will be in there next semester and the biggest question is, 'Miss Samuel are we going to be learning games?' Rogers-Samuel said. "So that's a big thing for them. They want to know the gaming, but I told them you have to understand the basics first. Once you have that, you can soar through anything and be innovative in the future for your career."

FSD1 wants to make those skills available to high school students to make them career ready.

"I think the coding academy really plays along with the S.T.E.M. academy," said Cynthia Harrison, a West Florence High department chair. "The students are really into that engineering and if they can get some coding with that, they will really be prepared for the future. That's where everything's at."

Harrison added she believes FSD1 is setting the standard for other school districts.

The coding program will feature a custom curriculum online written by Discovery Place Education out of Charlotte, N.C., where all three instructors received professional development.

The first coding courses will begin next semester.

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