When Chanel White started an after-school coding club at Belt Line Elementary in October 2016, she had no idea how popular it would become.
Within months, the club’s attendance increased from just a handful of dedicated attendees to more than 50—a major achievement in a school of roughly 600 students! In addition, she started teaching a computer science class that has since turned into an entire computer science lab.
“I was working with mainly minority students, and I wanted to give them exposure to computer science, especially girls,” says White, who had no prior CS teaching experience.
She currently teaches grades 3-4 using the Code.org curriculum, and also runs a lab for 5th graders, using the CS First curriculum to teach. She also oversees a robotics competition for 4th graders in addition to the after-school coding club. White teaches in the Lancaster Independent School District in Texas, where the majority of her students are low income. None of her students had been in a CS class before, and she started her school’s first-ever computer science expo for students to showcase their projects.
“Mrs. White has created a culture of innovation at her elementary school,” said Kimberly Lane Clark, who nominated White.
White is a certified elementary teacher and she recently became certified in computer science to share her knowledge with other teachers and students in the district.