Code Nation’s For Schools Program is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.
Who is served: High school students in under resourced high schools in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. 76 percent of participants identify as Black or Latinx, 44 percent identify as female or other, and 78 percent qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
Number of participants: 1,020 students served in New York City from 2018 to 2019.
Location: After-school at schools in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan as well as at tech company offices.
Schools: Academy of Innovative Technology, All City Leadership Secondary School, Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy, Brooklyn High School for Law & Technology, Brooklyn Institute of Liberal Arts, Brooklyn Preparatory High School, Cristo Rey High School, Eagle Academy for Young Men – Harlem, East Harlem Tutorial Program, Essex Street Academy, Frederick Douglas Academy II, George Westinghouse High School, High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies, High School for Hospitality Management, High School of Fashion Industries, Hudson High School, International High School at Prospect Heights, Landmark High School, Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, Lyons Community School, Manhattan International High School, Murry Bergtraum High School, Orchard Collegiate Academy, Pathways in Technology High School, Promise Academy, Queens Vocational & Technical High School, Richard Green High School, Science Skills Center High School, Uncommon Charter High School, Urban Assembly School of Design & Construction, Wadleigh Secondary School, Williamsburg Charter High School, Williamsburg High School for Art & Technology, Young Women’s Leadership School Tech Companies: American Express, Etsy, Flatiron Health, Google, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Oscar Health, Salesforce, Schrödinger, Teachers Pay Teachers, Uber, IEX, Seatgeek, Disney Streaming Services, MoneyLion
Frequency/Duration: Up to 3 years total, Fellowship Courses: 31 lessons from October–June; Intro to Web Development Courses: 66 lessons from September–June
Eligibility Criteria: Schools where at least 75 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced price lunch.
Core skills taught: foundational technical skills, Professional Skills: professionalism, problem-solving, time and project management, communication and presentation skills, interviewing, networking collaboration and teamwork.
Outcomes: 74 percent of reported alumni who completed 2 or more years of Code Nation programs are currently majoring or employed in STEM. 63 percent are studying or working in computer science.
By the end of the program, students have developed their LinkedIn and Github profiles and resume, along with a professional portfolio. Students will have also attended the annual Code Nation Hackathons. Students gain workplace experience through their Fellowships at tech companies and field trips.
Company partners: American Express, Etsy, Flatiron Health, Google, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Oscar Health, Salesforce, Schrödinger, Teachers Pay Teachers, Uber, IEX, Seatgeek, Disney Streaming Services, MoneyLion
Sources of funding: Private
What makes the program stand out? Many programs teach technical skills, but Code Nation is one of only a handful that emphasizes professional skills in the first year, particularly brainstorming, wireframing and public speaking. Technical skills are taught by industry experts, so students begin to develop real relationships with people in the industry and cultivate lasting networks. There’s also an emphasis on independent problem solving and being able to communicate computational thinking, through whiteboarding activities and HackerRank challenges, for example.
Given the tech industry’s struggle to hire and retain employees from nontraditional backgrounds, Code Nation’s effort to create a tech pipeline of Black and Latinx students from under-resourced high schools is promising. Historically, only 8 percent of students attending under-resourced high schools earn a degree in a STEM-related field within 6 years of graduation, according to Michael Oppong, director of curriculum and innovation.
What do participants need to succeed? Participants attending schools in the outer boroughs are missing out on Code Nation programs because of a lack of tech-industry volunteers willing/able to go beyond Manhattan and certain parts of Brooklyn, according to Oppong.
What does the organization need? More volunteers from the tech industry (industry volunteers teach all programs); more volunteers in the outer boroughs.
Does it provide professional development? Yes