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Santa Monica College Launches Computer Initiative for Middle School Students

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

June 4, 2014 -- Santa Monica College's Community Education Program will teach computer programming to middle school students in an effort to minimize “summer learning loss” and introduce young people to "high-demand careers paths," college officials announced this week.

“Computer Coding for Kids” will pair a 3-part program in web design and mobile development with career exploration in what officials are calling "an innovative approach to computer science education."

“We want to be pro-active in giving kids a jump start on developing valuable skills for this new economy and doing it in a way that is engaging and fun.” says Michelle King, SMC Director of Career & Contract Education.

Although this summer’s offering of the computer coding program will target disadvantaged youth and other at-risk student groups, the long-term goal is to help promote, engage and celebrate student success in learning Science, Technology, Engineering & Math- (STEM-) related courses, King said.

The program will teach the basics, starting with how to stimulate their creative thinking to generate concepts that can be developed into a computer code, officials said.

Classroom instruction and discussions will be led by experts who are active in the local “Silicon Beach” tech community. 

Young tech professionals will mentor students through group projects that will teach the basic concepts of HTML and web development, while providing insight into applicable resources and possible careers paths, according to officials.

“In addition to providing students with valuable knowledge, the program is also aiming to convey the value and importance of continuous learning,” King said.

“Technology and the fast pace of business is requiring both skilled and unskilled individuals to continuously seek out training opportunities that will equip them to compete in what is now an ever-changing job market. Thus, introducing younger students to the concept of continuous learning will in itself help prepare them to compete in the new economy.” 

The coding program is part of a larger effort to ensure that a diverse group of local students has access to learning opportunities that can help reduce the “Achievement Gap,” while advancing the over-arching goal of encouraging the study of STEM-related courses, said officials.

To help ensure the success of this program, the Community Education Department is seeking the support of sponsors and other community leaders.

For more information on how to support SMC’s Community Education Department please contact King at (310) 434-3323, or email:

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