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Bismarck, N.D.     |     A statewide Hour of Code will take place Dec. 7 - 11 as part of a nationwide, annual event hosted by Code.org. Held in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week, the event is part of a broader effort to give students of all ages opportunities to learn about coding and computer science as foundational 21st century skills. Microsoft is encouraging students to participate in Hour of Code, including offering one classroom a chance to win micro:bit kits and a virtual training session.

"We are grateful for all of the industry partners, educators and parents who are inspiring success and introducing students to 21st century skills that will open doors in many career paths,” said Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley. “North Dakota’s vibrant technology and educational ecosystem represents an opportunity for our economy and students to thrive.” 

More than 10,000 North Dakota students in K-12 and higher education have participated in Hour of Code since 2018. Schools are encouraged to explore a variety of free, virtual activities and numerous resources at code.org where they can also register to participate.

According to Code.org, there are nearly 400,000 computing jobs open in the U.S. alone, with only 71,000 computer science graduates entering the workforce last year. And while approximately 58% of all STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs are in computing, only 11% of STEM graduates have a degree in computer science.

“Hour of Code enables young people to participate and learn digital skills, giving insight into the future of work,” said Taya Spelhaug, Microsoft TechSpark Manager for North Dakota. “We’re proud to support North Dakota’s Hour of Code and help students explore these skills in a fun and engaging way.”

“Computer science, coding and software development are part of the fabric of our daily lives,” said Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota’s superintendent of schools. “The Hour of Code helps inspire students’ imaginations and learn a skill they could turn into a high-paying career. I also encourage educators to mark their calendars for IgniteND, June 7 – 11, 2021 an exciting event dedicated to training ND K-12 teachers in coding, cybersecurity and computer science.”

“Hour of Code is a tremendous resource for students and teachers during these challenging times,” said Paul Zettler, information technology teacher at Red River High School and 2020 Air Force Association Chapter Teacher of the Year, which recognizes leadership in STEM education. “These activities are well designed and easy to deliver, something that is much appreciated as we try to engage students in various ways and encourage them to explore future careers that are in demand.”

This effort is part of North Dakota’s holistic, whole-of-government approach to promoting computer science and cybersecurity education. The K-20W Initiative aims to reach every student, kindergarten through PhD, and the workforce with a goal of Every Student. Every School. Cyber Educated. This award-winning initiative includes more than 40 public and private sector partners working together to provide professional development, training opportunities and resources to North Dakota educators and students in computer science and cybersecurity.

Members of the media interested in interviews can contact:

Paul Zettler, Red River High School, pzettler270@mygfschools.org.

Alexandria Rizzo, Alexander Public School, Alexandria.brummond@k12.nd.us.



C O N T A C T :

Jecca Geffre     |     701-955-0304


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