How to ensure equity begins early when building career skills

Grants have allowed Compton USD leaders to create an ed-tech feeder pattern
By: | September 9, 2020
Remote students in a Compton USD middle school sent robots on educational mission on the room-size map of Latin America at Bunche Middle School.Remote students in a Compton USD middle school sent robots on educational mission on the room-size map of Latin America at Bunche Middle School.

Coding instruction begins in elementary school in California’s Compton USD to prepare students to succeed with STEM technology in the ever-changing high-tech job market.

Grants have allowed Compton USD leaders to create an ed-tech feeder pattern that runs from elementary schools, where specialized coding coaches supplement STEM instruction for the district’s youngest students, all the way up to high school, Superintendent Darin Brawley says.

“By the time they leave us, the opportunity gap related to brown and African-American students is eliminated so they can compete,” Brawley says.

In Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools, building a local talent pipeline for STEM fields was a key goal of free coding camps offered this summer to middle schoolers.


More from DA: How students can run robotics missions remotely


The more than 900 students in the Montgomery Can Code online courses—taught by Montgomery College instructors—focused on app development using Apple’s Swift platform.

Administrators recruited students from underrepresented backgrounds and children living in poverty to participate. In fact, students from the district’s highest-poverty school got the chance to sign up first, says Scott W. Murphy, director of the Department of Secondary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs.

“We want to light a spark into IT and open access to students who may not have had these experiences before,” Murphy says.

Read the other stories in our series on the future of work:

  1. How to develop students who are creators, not consumers
  2. Why you should stress COVID-era skills in CTE programs
  3. How CTE develops on-the-job learners
  4. Why not create your own coding curriculum?
  5. 5 changes that will prepare students for the future of work