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The Next 5 Years: Building A System So No Child Is Left Behind

Updated: Jan 25

A reflection on 5 years of teaching STEM and working with families in Austin

Where did the 5 years go? What an incredible journey of personal and professional growth. Time goes on as we do our best to keep up. We are so grateful to our families and our team for supporting us as we gain our footing and establish our identity. At 5 years, we are still young and continue to grow and hire wonderful people who bring new energy and new skills to our students. We are so excited about what the next 5 years will bring.

As we reflect on our anniversary, there are so many great success stories and also opportunities and challenges. We have built a system at MCP with various pieces all which need to operate smoothly to keep the system healthy. My goals are organized into the 5 categories that we cover at our weekly managers meeting.

1) Instructors

Our instructors go above and beyond to teach and inspire. We would not be where we are without our wonderful team. They regularly bring ideas and new topics that will get students excited about learning. In the next 5 years, we will continue to roll out innovative programs and train and support our instructors as they engage kids in project-based learning.

2) Students

Our team regularly discusses student progress and students that may require more attention or parent involvement. We coach instructors and offer techniques to support the kids. We tell our students when they are distracted - you can play games at are here to learn...and we can call your parents if you want to leave. Kids hate to be bored so sometimes suggesting they sit in the lobby helps to get them on task. In the end, we are trying to create a community with the understanding that kids are little people who need nurturing and support.

3) Partners

We just began our partnership with AISD and are adding more programs at our private schools and Lakeway Activity Center. It is very exciting. We are beginning to see commonalities and able to make our system smoother so that it will be easier to take our programs outside our studio to reach more families. Thank you to our partners for helping us reach more kids. Our goal is to establish more partnerships to support kids and families.

4) Programs

As our focus has been the first 3 categories to connect passionate instructors with curious students, we are now giving more attention to our programs. The programs have been too tightly bound to instructor interests to foster engagement, but as we grow, we want to make our approach and content more consistent. We offer curriculum to instructors in the form of tutorials or digital content and lesson plans, but our approach is to get the students to create and come up with ideas and strategies that they can implement with code or whatever platform they are learning. We engage with student-led project-based learning. As we coach instructors, our goal is to support them by providing them with widgets that they can use to support the students who we are empowering.

5) Technology

We recently received donations that will enhance learning and improve engagement in our Scratch class and a donation of computer equipment that will help us network the machines in the studio. We are currently limited in how many schools and centers we can send instructors to because of our limited supply of laptops. Our current strategy is to explore funding through grants in order to scale and we have also considered the possible formation of a non-profit organization in order for the community and larger tech companies to support our mission which can be found on this website.

AISD recently got their biggest bond in history of 2.44 billion in November 2022. All the funds are allocated for facilities, to modernize the buildings and stadiums. None of the bond is going to education or instruction. We have to ensure that all Austin children have access to computing skills and become technology-literate. We have to ensure no child gets left behind. At the end of the day, My Coding Place works because of our community. It works because instructors believe in passing on their skills, and families believe their children will benefit from these skills. If the public schools cannot support education, it is up to small businesses like MCP to step up and meet the need.

In the next five years, we will continue to expand in Austin whether through partnerships or more locations. One goal is to create more innovative programs. We also want to reach more girls with coding and chess. We are just beginning to think about classes to support parents who need to be able to keep up with their children, especially regarding digital safety and setting up a family network. The opportunity to teach about ChatGPT and OpenAI is enormous as AI changes education and society. If we can find support and interest, we can continue to develop cutting-edge programs for families.

I am so grateful and humbled for the support from our community and from instructors and managers who share their skills and want to make a difference. At MCP, the focus is on enriching kids lives and exposing them to skills that will give them opportunities. Thank you to everyone involved in our system for the betterment of our community. We love Austin and we love your children.

Live. Laugh. Code.


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