McKinley students make time for the Hour of Code

DYKER HEIGHTS — Students at William McKinley Intermediate School are helping each other break the code…but that’s a good thing!

McKinley students participated in the global initiative to have all students code for one hour during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 9 to 15, this year. Over the course of the week, 71 classes and a total of 1,791 students participated.

To help students learn in the most efficient way, the school uses “code squads” made up of students proficient in coding and willing to help others.

The code squads visit classrooms and members assist other students in need of help. The programs they use, such as Scratch, provide instructions for students, including special education students.

“Our code squad comprised 64 codesters, who visited 71 classes to help ‘administer’ coding, by providing instruction to both teachers and students,” said English teacher Jessica Amato.

“Sixth grade student codesters wowed eighth grade seniors with their ability to facilitate coding for all. In addition, senior codester leaders inspired new members of the code squad, and it was a win for all 1,791 students who participated,” Amato added.

Organized by, the Hour of Code is a global initiative designed to introduce students to computer science. The program is a one-hour introduction intended to demystify code and help students improve their STEM skills.

Principal Janice Geary, dressed in her codester T-shirt, was proud of her students for meeting their goals. “It was great to watch students teach students to code,” Geary told this paper. “At McKinley, we’re all about promoting lifelong learning through teamwork!”

Seventh grade student Boddan Selyomin was happy to take part in the program. “It was interesting to see how McKinley students understood coding and learned to code themselves,” she told this paper.

Eighth grader Ibrahim Amtiaz recently spoke with Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on the same topic. “Students created new projects and presented new and innovative ideas, and it was amazing,” Amtiaz said.

Coding teacher Margarette Desilus-Lacon spearheaded the creation of the codester team, and was proud of her students as they helped other students learn to code.

“Students kept their heads held high and listened attentively to the codesters every step of the way,” said Desilus-Lacon. “This was a proud week for all of us at McKinley,” she added.

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