First of its kind: Students at one Richland 2 elementary get computer science immersion

First of its kind: Students at one Richland 2 elementary get computer science immersion

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Schools in the Midlands are wrapping up class for the holidays, and one Richland Two elementary school has completed its first semester as a computer science immersion school.

Students and teachers at Sandlapper Elementary say it has been a success.

Computers, coding and creativity have taken over the curriculum at Sandlapper, and it all began earlier this year, as the school transformed into a one-of-a-kind program.

“You wake up. You go to school. You realize you are going to make something today, or you are going to code. Which is absolutely incredible,” fifth grader Ella Popp said.

Taking a look inside the classrooms, it seems to be the consensus. Things are going well. Students and teachers are liking the integration of computer science skills.

“My classroom has flipped so much," fifth grade teacher Ashley Webber said. “My students are teaching me every week now, so I love it.”

Popp added: “It’s crazy because I know most adults haven’t made a robot before.”

Sandlapper is the only elementary school in Richland Two focused on computer science. And it’s one of only a few schools in the state that offers regular coding.

“It’s great seeing how quickly the students are picking up what we are working with in our program,” magnet lead Tim Swick said.

The older kids work on creating computer games and robots, while the younger grades work with Legos and building.

“We are kind of incorporating two different ways,” Swick explained. “One is students once a week have about 40 minutes with our computer classroom. Then on top of that, we are integrating computer science within the classrooms. We are shooting for about an hour a week.”

While magnet programs are nothing new, for these students at Sandlapper -- who now get Chrome books as early as kindergarten -- it’s a new experience.

For those interested in this magnet program, families who live in the Sandlapper school district are assigned there.

If your kids are interested in the computer science focus and you don’t live in the district, you can apply. There is an informational meeting for families at Sandlapper on Jan. 13. Click or tap here for more information.

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