College & Career Readiness
Observed Problem: In 2012, the first year of the Minnetonka Idea Hunt, high school IB biology teacher Gwynneth Wacker submitted her idea for “Computer Programming for Students - Elementary Through High School.” She was inspired by news stories at the time about companies needing to safeguard their digital assets from hackers, and realized how critical computer programming skills are becoming in our tech-driven world. At the time, computer programming was only taught on a limited basis at the high school, so Gwyneth recommended Minnetonka expand the curriculum across all grade levels, starting in kindergarten.
Idea/Solution: “Computer Programming for Students - Elementary Through High School.” Expand the existing computer programming curriculum to includes all grade levels, starting at kindergarten.
Testing & Development: Initially, the idea was tested by establishing an after school coding club at Minnewashta Elementary School. The first club filled quickly, was well received by students and families, and additional sessions were offered. Soon after that, a team of staff, parents and community experts was formed to create Minnetonka’s comprehensive coding curriculum. The program, Tonka <Codes>, teaches coding language to all students with a variety of tools and media and is the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota.
Current Status: Tonka <Codes> continues to expand outside of the classroom with each elementary school offering extra-curricular clubs and family events, district-wide participation in Hour of Code week, and advanced courses, competitions and extracurricular clubs at the middle schools and high school.