Six weeks ago, our school was invited along with 19 other St. Louis schools to attend the STEM Student Forum hosted by World Wide Technology. Our College Admissions Specialist – Monica Nickolai, and I attended the event with ten of our computer coding students. The students were tasked with creating a solution using technology to address a need in our school community. They were invited back to present their solutions and compete for a $10,000 prize.
The issue the students chose to tackle was one of educational equity. The students discussed how many 8th graders are unaware of all of their high school options within St. Louis Public Schools including new magnet and choice schools.
“Our mission is to engage prospective high school students to find their best fit within St. Louis Public Schools by providing an unbiased, student-centered resource that removes barriers in the school-choice process.”
My coding students built a web application called “High School in Hand” that delivers a personalized survey and shares student results and data with possible matched high schools based on their interests, with the goal being that the school-choice process becomes even more student centered.
The students presented their work to an auditorium of 200+ including executives from World Wide Technology. They spoke from experience about the challenges they faced navigating the school-choice process, which can favor students who have proactive parents or come from higher-performing middle schools.
I’m so proud to share that they absolutely knocked it out of the park. Among 19 of the best private and public schools across St. Louis, our students won the event. I’m incredibly grateful for the support of Monica, who coached the students with me over the busy past six weeks, and for World Wide Technology whose $10,000 donation will make a profound and immediate impact on our school’s STEM initiatives.
Most of all, I’m grateful for my students who remind me every single day just how much of an honor and privilege it is to be a teacher.