We hope you can join us for CODEchella 2017 on Saturday, April 8th at LA Trade Tech College. For more information and to RSVP, please click here.
CODEchella – “Coding for the community”
CODEchella is a unique student coding event at YouthBuild Charter School if California in which YouthBuild students have just 12 hours to build entire websites for local small businesses. This year, we are pleased to welcome Second Spectrum as our Presenting Sponsor. Our Founding Partner is Colocation America, who will also be launching a new STEM Scholarship Program for CODEchella participants at our 2017 event. At CODEchella, students work in teams with volunteers from local tech companies, such as Factual, Second Spectrum, Goliath Graffix and Firebrain, who mentor them to help plan, design, and code websites that meet their clients’ needs. To prepare for the event, the students (most of whom have little to no previous experience with coding) take a week’s worth of intensive Adobe Photoshop, HTML, and CSS coding classes, taught by industry professional Emma Cunningham. At the end of the day on Saturday, students are judged by a panel of local experts and one team is crowned the winner. Other prizes are given out in categories, such as “Lil Steve Jobs,” “Most Improved,” “Best Presenter,” and “Best Web Design.” All students who participate earn five technology credits and a certificate for completing over 40 hours worth of Computer Science.
Our 3rd Annual CODEchella event took place on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at Los Angeles Trade Tech College from 8am to 8pm. 30 students, 10 mentors, and 8 clients participated in the event, which marked the closest competition in CODEchella history. The winning team won by just one point, and there was a three-way tie for second place.
Congratulations to students Marysa Carmona, Luis Lara and Amber Rodney of Team HTMLiens for winning first prize with a website they designed for client Ellen Sanchez Consulting. You can view their website here: http://ellensanchezconsulting.com.
USC Annenberg Media did a great write-up of last year’s event. Check it out.
We created a video to recap the event and thank everyone involved. This video was shown prior to the presentations and judging at CODEchella 2016. Stay tuned for more videos!
We are proud of all of our students for all that they accomplished in the short time they were given. Below are the rest of the websites our students created during CODEchella 2016.
Team: LA Expendables (Kim Abarca, Armando Sanchez, Ignacio Celis and Jose Trejo)
Client: Newton Area Community Police Advisory Board
Team: C.R.V.L. (Cristina Bravo, Valente Pereyda, Libni Cordero, and Ricardo Trujillo)
Client: La Cevicheria
Team: JATA (Amber Duron, Tynice Witherspoon, Javier Casillas, and Adrianna Rodriguez)
Client: Kelly Kay Consulting
Team: Alpha (Stephanie Carrasco, Jessica Camacho, Vicente Guillen, and Austin Huffman)
Client: Writer Sarah Park
Team: Rocket (Alfredo Rodriguez, Saul Castano, Wilmer Matamoros, Raiel Zewengel)
Client: Acappella Worship Leaders and Choral Music Conference
Team: Platinum Wave (Anthony Neal, Alex Nunez, Anthony Corrales)
Team: LEAD the Dream (Coco Xiao, Kawaii Xiao, Soledad Barriga, Liliana Garcia)
Client: The Fair Chance Project
Last year’s winners were Brian and Andrew from LEAD YouthBuild in Lincoln Heights, who built a website for local actress and spoken word poet Yazmin Monet Watkins. You can watch a recap video from the event below:
Why such an emphasis on teaching students to code?
Our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Coordinator Nadia Despenza is dedicated to finding creative and innovative ways to teach computer science to the young people at YCSC, from teaching students Scratch to expanding access to technology in the classroom by using iPads and Apple TV.
After attending an event called WebSlam at Youthbuild Philadelphia, Ms. Despenza decided to bring the idea back to Youthbuild of California and work with the community to create a South L.A. Webslam. She worked with Colocation America to sponsor the event, and brought in URBAN TxT, Factual and Los Angeles Trade Tech to work as partners to truly make the event a success, not only for Youthbuild Charter students, but for the greater South L.A. community. This could not happen without all the help from the companies, non-profits, and school partners involved.
Ms. Despenza believes that teaching students how to code will help them increase math and critical thinking skills while creating life-long learners in STEM, open the door to a multitude of tech-related job openings, and serve as a pathway out of poverty. Currently there are more computer science jobs than there are people to fill them, and Ms. Despenza wants to see YCSC students filling these jobs.
Young Tech Entrepreneurs Initiative
In August 2013, YouthBuild Charter School of California launched its Young Tech Entrepreneurs Initiative (YTEI) in an effort to prepare students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The Initiative was led by YouthBuild Charter’s STEM Coordinator Nadia Despenza. Following the launch of YTEI, Ms. Despenza began training the school’s science and technology teachers how to effectively use iPads and Apple TVs in their classrooms to teach students the basics of coding through websites like Code.org and Scratch. She helped the school sites order much needed science supplies and update their classroom technology. Additionally, she hosted a successful student coding event called WebSlam (see below), which gave students the opportunity to get some hands-on coding experience with experts in the field.
At the start of the 2014-15 school year, YouthBuild Charter School of California received funding from local tech company Colocation America to launch a rigorous computer science class at the school’s South LA site, located on the campus of LA Trade Tech College. The Young Tech Entrepreneurs Computer Science class was a 7-week course for students who wanted to learn the basics of computer science, graphic design, and coding a website in HTML and CSS. The curriculum for the class was developed by Ms. Despenza and a local freelance web coder, and they are co-taught the class together. The computer science class lays the foundation for CODEchella.
In 2014, YCSC hosted an event called WebSlam (inspired by an event of the same name in Philadelphia) in collaboration with URBAN TxT and sponsored by Colocation America. During the week leading up to the event, URBAN TxT, a Los Angeles-based program that teaches at-risk young people of color how to build iPhone apps and other open-source technologies, led intensive, day-long classes on HTML coding for the twenty YCSC students selected to participate in the WebSlam. On Saturday, April 12th, 2014, the twenty students worked in teams of two to five with mentors from local technology and web design companies, including Factual, to build an entire website for a local client by the end of the day. The students were judged by a panel of industry leaders, and prizes were given out for the best website design.
There was a great write-up about the WebSlam in Forbes.
The winners were:
1st Prize: Shaquann’s Gourmet Cookies: http://samiewalt.com
2nd Prize: Los Angeles Trade Tech College’s Cosmetology Department: http://salonservice.lattc.edu
3rd Prize: Los Angeles Trade Tech College’s A.S.O.: http://aso.lattc.edu
Click here the link view photos from the event: http://www.youthbuildcharter.org/webslam-photo-gallery
Celina shares why she wanted to participate in the WebSlam
Click here to download our WebSlam press release.
For more information on the importance of promoting computer science in the classroom, check out this website: http://csedweek.org/promote.