Starting this year, all freshmen at San Antonio ISD's Highlands High School will learn how to code computer systems, the first program of its kind in Texas.
The web-based program that Highland is using is called CodeHS, but anyone can sign up to learn to code from home for a monthly access fee. Outside of the basic curriculum, the 400 incoming freshmen at Highlands will be required to take a course to learn the basics of coding.
Chelsey Cook, the director of the program, said the knowledge will still help them even if students don’t plan software careers.
"If they understand how the software works, it’s going to help them work in the field and work through problems," said Cook. "Even if they don’t become a computer programmer it’s going to give our students an edge in the workforce," Cook said.
In one of the first lessons, students control a dog named Karel to pick up a tennis ball on a grid by typing in code commands like "move" or "turn left."
Zach Gallant, one of the co-designers of CodeHS, said students and teachers will have access to tutors when using the program.
"If teachers don’t have any experience in programming they can still use Code HS in their class, learn along with their students, be a facilitator, and use our tutors remotely to get questions answered and programs graded and feedback given to the students," Galant said.
Students can continue into the program throughout high school. The money used to fund the program and buy laptops is being provided by the 80/20 Foundation.