CS in Schools Awards Night 2019

We celebrated our 2019 founding teachers and volunteers on 28 October at The Capitol at RMIT University. Congratulations again to everyone who’s been involved in the programme and thank you for your support!

Leigh Jasper delivering the keynote speech at the awards night. Leigh called on schools to help students develop their coding skills early in high school.

We were lucky to hear from RMIT University Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Bean CBE and Aconex founder and former CEO Leigh Jasper. Martin shared the key message that coding is a critical competency for this generation and that he believes that CS in Schools’ model is the most effective he’s seen for developing teacher skills. Leigh spoke about Australia’s shortage of digital workers and the need to address this through giving students the chance to learn how to code in secondary school. Both were thankful to the founding teachers and volunteers, and thanked their schools for having the courage to drive change.

CS in Schools award night
Professor Martin Bean CBE, the Vice-Chancellor of RMIT University, opening the awards night. Martin’s key message was that coding is a critical competency for this generation and that CS in Schools is the best programme he’s seen in the space.

Kristy Kendall, who’s a co-founder at CS in Schools and the Principal at Toorak College spoke on behalf of the CS in Schools team. Kristy shared that our work with ten teachers this year has helped almost 1,100 students including more than 600 girls learn how to code. She shared that next year around 60 teachers will work with as many volunteers in the programme, and create the opportunity for over 6,000 students to learn how to code.

CS in Schools award night
Teachers, volunteers, and supporters of CS in Schools mingling before the awards night presentation.

Kristy also shared the exciting news that every teacher who participated this year and all teachers in next year’s programme are eligible to receive the Coding for Teachers credential from RMIT University. For 2020, as with the rest of the programme, this is completely free. The credential is equivalent to one course in a Masters programme, and is resume-building evidence that a teacher can teach coding.

CS in Schools award night
Mark Bennett (Haileybury), Natalie Heath (Eltham HS), Stella Ramos (Greensborough College), Phil Carew (Toorak College), Justine Isard (McClelland College), and Sam Webster (Mount Erin College) receiving their awards. Absent were Ineke Viljoen (Catholic College Sale), Edward Wilson (Gippsland Grammar School), Stuart Bush (Toorak College), and Gus McLean (Greensborough College).

Every volunteer and teacher was celebrated on stage and received a hand-crafted award recognising their contribution. We asked local artist and woodworker Claudio Mantuano to create a robot that uniquely marks the 2019 cohort. We will have a new robot in a similar style for every participant in the 2020 programme.

CS in Schools award night
Toan Huynh (John Monash Science School), Zach Wingrave (CS in Schools), Jacqui Shadforth (REA), Julian Choquette (Messagemedia), Jeff Plumb (Haileybury), Bryce Kelly (SEEK), Jonatan Castro (Messagemedia), Darren Beukes (SEEK), Michele Playfair (YOW!), Helen Giapitzakis (SEEK), Kevin Forster (Messagemedia), and Ben Jervis (SEEK) receiving their volunteer awards. Absent were Nancy Do (SEEK) and Jack Jordan (SEEK).

We concluded the night with a viewing of a light show in the renovated Capitol. It’s an incredible space that was rescued from near ruin by RMIT University, who spent around $18 million on the renovation.

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Our robot awards were crafted by local artist and craftsman Claudio Mantuano, see http://alleycatfurniture.com/.

Well done again to everyone involved in the 2019 programme, and thanks for celebrating with us. Thanks to Martin Bean and Leigh Jasper for speaking on the night, and thanks to everyone else who attended and gave their time to help us this year. We’re looking forward to an amazing 2020.

CS in Schools award night
Wrapping up the night with a light show at RMIT’s The Capitol.

It’s not too late to get involved. If you’re a teacher or a school, learn more here. If you’re an experienced coder and you’d like to help a teacher, learn more here. If you would like to financially support us, we need your help — please email me at hugh@csinschools.com.

See you next time.

Hugh (on behalf of the CS in Schools team).

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Hugh E. Williams

Founder, Advisor, Professor, and Investor. Former Tech Exec.

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