Starting in the fall Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools will add coding to its middle school curriculum. Coding is the language of the digital world we all find ourselves, especially our youth, and now middle schoolers will be experts in what it takes to make computers and phones communicate, putting them at a great advantage.
In addition to stepping outside the traditional offerings of reading and math (and variations thereof), I appreciate the effort the district is making to curb the predictable fourth-grade leap. Historically, Metro Schools suffers a huge loss of middle to upper-class families at the end of fourth grade and another enrollment drop just before high school.
While coding alone will not keep the middle class from rolling out in search of high-performing magnets and private schools, it is a step in the right direction. It is also worth noting the urgency with which the district is implementing the classes, offering coding at all middle schools as opposed to a few at a time – as it’s known to do.
But, perhaps, the most thrilling part of this story is the collaboration between the district and a charter school. You read that right. In Nashville, where we have a few issues on the subject of charters, there is collaborative work happening and our children will benefit greatly (because they get it –it’s about the babies).
RePublic Charter Schools has been teaching coding classes for three years and recently started offering classes to the public free of charge. In a politically risky, but brilliant money-saving (even peace-making) move, the district is tapping into the expertise right in its front yard. More of this, please!
This is a perfect illustration of why charters even exist. These schools are allowed to operate on the premise of offering innovation in exchange for greater accountability. They are simply a non-traditional option to move students toward greater success. The goals of traditional public schools and charter schools are the same, only the methods differ. So working together not only makes sense it’s expected.
I’m proud of RePublic and the powers at Metro Schools with the foresight to forge this collaboration. I’d love to believe this is beginning of a beautiful relationship, but I know better. In the meantime, I’ll bask in the glow of this shining example of how it should be. #RelationshipGoals