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Secretary of Education DeVos visits Moorefield Station for coding initiative

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visits with Moorefield Station Elementary School classes to learn about coding projects. Times-Mirror/Veronike Collazo
Moorefield Station Elementary School, one of Loudoun’s three coding immersion schools, received a special visit Friday morning.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos came to the school to witness students' progress with coding initiatives and participate in a roundtable discussion with teachers.

DeVos visited with a first- , second- , third- and fourth-grade class and saw projects including animated graphs, webpages about world explorers and coding that controlled robots.

“Instead of writing a report or taking a test, we use the SCRATCH project to demonstrate the knowledge they learned in the unit, “ third grade teacher Erin Gilbert said. “It’s a lot of work, and they are amazing at it, and they love it. It’s so engaging, and it really helps them problem solve and think cognitively because they have to figure out why something’s not working. The debugging is just amazing because it really gives them critical thinking skills.”

This is the first year Moorefield Station in Ashburn — along with Meadowland Elementary in Sterling and Round Hill Elementary in Round Hill — participated in the Code to the Future program.

Initially, students were going to have half-hour breakout sessions to learn coding, but students took to it so quickly that coding has become integrated throughout the curriculum, Assistant Principal Colleen Flaherty said.

Fourth-grade teacher Shawn DeLuca said his class used coding to make robots act like animals. Some had robots simulate snakes, dogs and lions.

DeVos said she likes the focus around STEM education and specifically around computer science and introducing kids at an early age to the fun and satisfaction of coding. She said she hopes to see more schools integrating coding into everyday curriculum.

“I think we’re going to see more and more schools adopting this sort of an approach because it’s really clear that it engages the students in a really important way,” DeVos said. “It’s especially fun to see so many girls that are excited about it, and I’m hopeful that they will continue to pursue this avenue, this opportunity because I think they’re particularly well-suited yet they’ve been underrepresented, in many cases, in the area of computer science, more broadly in a lot of the sciences.”

After visiting with the different Moorefield Station classes, Devos participated in a roundtable with teachers and administrators that was closed to the press.


Did someone have to explain to her that she was in a school…she is so out of touch, she might have confused it with a WalMart.

Congrats to all involved. THIS is going to help children deal with the future far more than pushing Virginia centric data such as how big is the Tidewater region or how many Pohatan Indians lived in Bath County 200 years ago etc. Somebody on the school board please set up a meeting with state D.O.E. and improve the curriculum!
Bob Ohneiser Esq.

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