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Hour of Code opens window for students across Douglas County

Hour of Code at Castle Rock Middle School

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Schools observed Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14) with an "Hour of Code."

2014 Hour of CodeAcross Douglas County last week, many students participated in the the Hour of Code, a program created by the founders of that is designed to demystify computer code and show that anybody can learn the basics. The international event takes place annually in December, and provides a one-hour introduction to computer science. The Hour of Code is a movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries; several schools in Douglas County joined the global effort.

Throughout the week, at Mesa Middle School, all students spent a math or science period exploring the world of computer programming, and explored how to develop games.

“You got to build your own game of Flappy Bird. It was cool,” said seventh-grader Katie Hilsman. “I used to think it would be too difficult to make a computer game. Now I know if I set my mind to it, I could do it.”

In addition to Frozen and Flappy birds, students could choose other popular themed activities such as Angry Birds. 

“The students were completely engaged while completing the activities. They wanted to do more, and many kids are continuing to code at home,” said 7th grade science teacher Meghan Paul. “In my class, kids worked together and helped each other. The kids who knew more about coding had fun helping others that were new to it."

At Soaring Hawk Elementary School, every student in every classroom from kindergarten through sixth grade participated in the Hour of Code. Technology Integration Specialist, Kamala Schuster visited each and introduced coding activities. Students used Kodable (an iPad app) and activities from, Khan Academy, Scratch, and CodeCombat to explore the world of computer programming. 

More than 350 students came to the Library Learning Commons at Castle Rock Middle School, where they sat down with laptops and browsed through tutorials created specifically to introduce students to coding. One student commented, "It was really fun. I thought it would be kind of hard, but it was actually sort of easy." Another added, "It's cool we can learn about how things [behind the scenes] work."

At Pine Lane Elementary School, students worked in the, and attend an evening Hour of Code event geared towards families. All of the participants enjoyed exploring how the study of computer science and programming help develop our creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills.
Students at Parker Core Knowledge Charter School were more than enthusiastic about joining in on the Hour of Code. They began their hour watching a short message from President Obama about the importance of being creators, and not just consumers of technology. From there, students visited, and selected one of the many coding activities available to explore. Each class was assigned an activity that was challenging and engaging for them. The students involved voiced their excitement, and loved the time they spent involved in the Hour of Code.

Challenge to Excellence Charter School hosted their second annual Hour of Code for students in kindergarten through eighth grades. Regular tech time was extended for students, enabling them to work through grade-appropriate applications. Many students enjoyed the learning so much that they continued the coding lessons at home with their parents.

Visit to explore Hour of Code activities and learn more about the global initiative.

December 16, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category: District, Elementary Education, Middle School Education

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.