Cloud LT students explore careers in programming

June 27, 2019

Even after school, the learning doesn’t stop in Northside ISD, especially in the Learning Tree program. In fact for LT students, they’re just getting started learning about new career possibilities.

Once a week for six weeks, a group of Neff Middle School students traveled by minibus to Holmes High School after school as part of the grant-funded program Cloud LT.

They learned to code using a tiny computer device called a Raspberry Pi. The task was to work together to assemble a car with wheels, a motor, and chassis, and then program it to move with commands from the Raspberry Pi.

“You don’t get it right the first time,” said seventh grader Forest Wedge. “It’s rare. It takes practice and multiple tries before you get it right and working. You have others to help you and you help them. We’re all learning something.”

At the middle school level, the Learning Tree after-school enrichment program is called Club LT. This past spring semester, five Club LT programs participated in an information technology, or IT, curriculum – Hobby, Jordan, Neff, Vale, and Zachry middle schools.

The six-week program included visits to Holmes for instruction from Holmes/Business Careers programing teachers and a field trip to Rackspace. It is funded by a high school completion grant from the San Antonio Area Foundation and offers students the opportunity to explore two career options. The spring program, Cloud LT, focuses on programming including computer maintenance, cybersecurity, and networks while the fall program, Skillet Juniors, focuses on culinary arts.

“Some students had experience coding, but for some it’s all new,” said Eli Balderas, Training and Evaluation Specialist for Learning Tree. “They all want to be users, but this teaches them the development side, the mechanics and electronics.”

“I’ll miss messing around with the Raspberry Pi,” Wedge said. “I was expecting more coding on the computer but I love this stuff. It’s better than staying at home.”

The Learning Tree after-school enrichment program is offered at all Northside elementary and middle schools.

For more information or to enroll an elementary or middle school student, visit the Learning Tree website.