SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The week of Dec. 5 through Dec. 11, 2016 was designated as Computer Science Education Week and South Plainfield Schools were among the thousands of schools nationwide to take part in the Hour of Code, an annual program dedicated to sparking interest in computer science among K-12 students.

"The Hour of Code is designed to introduce students to 21st Century Skills and offer a real world application of their coding abilities," said South Plainfield's Superintendent of Schools Dr. Noreen Lishak. "The district-supported program helps ignite student interest in coding and computer science by complementing our regularly included curriculum activities."

At the kindergarten through eighth grade level, this year’s program took place during weekly computer classes while, at South Plainfield High School (SPHS), 2016 marked the first time the Hour of Code was held in all of the math classes.

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“This is the third year we've run the program in the district, but it is the first year it's been run through every math class, enabling all high school students to participate,” said Annemarie Stoeckel, supervisor of technology for the South Plainfield School District. “The Hour of Code event is important as it raises awareness of the impact of computer science in our society today and encourages students to explore computer science as a possible career.”

On Dec. 9, students in Dr. Stephen Wiener's Intro to Computer Programming and AP Computer Programming classes at SPHS led the math classes. They shared information about computer programming and the Hour of Code, including a brief video from Code.org, with their fellow students. Among those who joined SPHS first period math classes for the Hour of Code this year were Dr. Lishak and Assistant Superintendent Mary Malyska, South Plainfield High School Principal Ronnie Spring, and South Plainfield Board of Education members Debbie Boyle and Bill Seesselberg along with Mayor Matt Anesh and Councilwoman Christine Faustini. 

“It is an honor to be here to celebrate Computer Science Appreciation Week and more importantly, South Plainfield High School’s Hour of Code,” stated Mayor Anesh during last Friday’s morning announcements. “Throughout the world, more than one-hundred million students have already tried the hour of Code and I am pleased that the administration here at South Plainfield High School has embraced this event and more specifically, the need for computer science of education be a significant part of the South Plainfield curriculum.”

The mayor, a graduate of South Plainfield High School himself, continued, “Times have certainly changed since I sat here as a student; computer science has grown leaps and bounds and become a major part of nearly every industry in the United States. It has changed the way we communicate, work, interact with family and friends, bank, and manage our household…Technology has become so vital that no matter what your day-to-day job may be, you can be sure there is a tie to technology [and] understanding the process is vital.”

Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. “Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra,” states the non-profits website.

Code.org, which organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign and provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States, is supported by Microsoft, Facebook, the Infosys Foundation, Google, Omidyar Network, and more.

“The Hour of Code is a great way to get students interested in computer science or any related fields, and I had a really fun time teaching students about it,” said Akaash Patel, one of the SPHS computer science students who presented to the classes.

SPHS math student Jason Belanger added, “The Hour of Code really opened my eyes to the importance of coding and computer science in both the present and the future of our world.”

“It is my hope that the Hour of Code at South Plainfield High School and throughout New Jersey sparks an awareness of the importance of computer science education for our students, residents and school administrators,” said Mayor Anesh.

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