We’re Rebranding! Meet NewBoCo K-12 Education

Aaron HornEducation0 Comments

Four kids work on laptops learning how to code with the NewBoCo K-12 Education logo in the bottom left corner.
 NewBoCo’s been up to a lot these past four years. We’ve grown from a small startup accelerator to a nonprofit with programming supporting education, innovation, and entrepreneurship for Iowans of all ages. As we’ve grown, we know it’s been hard to keep up with what exactly it is we do here. So many of our programs have different names, and as an organization, we’re designed to experiment and take risks on new programming to fill community needs quickly and aggressively.
We’ve decided to make things easier for you. We’re calling a spade a spade and re-branding “Imagination Iowa: NewBoCo’s K-12 STEAM Education Initiative” to simply “NewBoCo K-12 Education”.

Supporting education, especially tech education, is critical to our mission of accelerating world-changing ideas, from Iowa. We believe anyone can learn how to be innovative if they have an open mind and the opportunity to learn new skills. And with our world becoming increasingly technical, we believe that kids (and adults alike!) need to be able to learn how to be masters of technology instead of passive consumers. That’s why in 2018, we’ll continue to offer a full slate of educational opportunities for kids of all ages, including:

  • Tiny Techies: Through a partnership with Cedar Valley Montessori School, we’re testing out a new program where we teach kids ages 3–6 the fundamentals of computer science without ever putting them in front of a screen! Tiny Techies helps students build computational thinking and problem solving skills, be creative, and practice working together. (Note, this program is currently only available to CVMS students, but we’d love to expand it in the future!)
  • CoderDojo: On the first and third Saturdays of the month from 1:00–3:00 PM, we host CoderDojo, a free program for young people in Kindergarten through 5th grade to learn how to code, program robots, develop websites, apps, programs, electronics, games, and more.
  • Future City: NewBoCo is the statewide coordinator for this national, project-based learning program where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future.
  • FIRST LEGO League: NewBoCo sponsors two teams for FIRST LEGO League, a program in which participants grades 4–8, along with their adult coaches, work together to invent new solutions to real-world problems. They then build and program a robot using LEGO products to compete against other teams on a national and international level.
  • Our extremely popular girls coding camp, GirlsCode++: A one-day event to teach girls about programming, taught by women in technology fields. Girls learn HTML and CSS to build their own website.
  • NewBoCo’s Code.org Partnership: One of NewBoCo’s goals is to ensure that every school in Iowa has a certified computer science teacher. While this part of our K-12 programming doesn’t work directly with kids, as a result of our 2017 professional development trainings, over 1,000 students took a computer science class in their school.
  • Coming this summer: Coding camps for kids. Details to be announced very soon!
  • And more!

The Imagination Iowa brand is near and dear to our hearts. When three dads launched Cedar Rapids’ CoderDojo chapter because they wanted more STEM and computer science opportunities for their children back in the spring of 2014, they had no idea that they’d ignite a movement for more access to innovative, engaging STEM activities in our community. By switching the name of our role in this movement to “NewBoCo K-12 Education,” we can better support the mission and community behind Imagination Iowa with our local and national partners.

While it probably won’t stop our mail from getting sent to the NewBo City Market, we hope that this simple name switch will make it easier for our community to engage with NewBoCo across all of our programming. We look forward to seeing you and your family at our upcoming events!

We’re always looking for mentors, volunteers, and donations to make NewBoCo K-12 Education successful. If you’re interested in donating your time or money to support kids’ tech education in Iowa, please email k12@newbo.co or visit https://newbo.co/donate/.

Also published on Medium.

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