FAQ

Here are the Frequently Asked Questions, FAQ, about Girls Coding Academy:

PARENT FAQ

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ARE YOU HOSTING THE ACADEMY FACE-TO-FACE OR ONLINE?

We are hosting our academy VIRTUALLY this year due to pandemic. We have been preparing to teach online and believe that our kids need normalcy. Through our academy they will continue to learn in summer, bond and be exposed to Computer Science topics in a fun and safe environment together with their peers and a great team consisting of UH faculty members coaches and graduate/undergraduate students as mentors.

WHAT IS GIRLS CODING ACADEMY?

The Girls Coding Academy is created by CodeCougars team consisting of UH Faculty from College of Education, College of Natural Science and Mathematics, and UH STEM Center. The main purpose of this innovative program is to promote and teach computer science (CS) topics especially coding to girls in middle schools. 

The Girls Coding Academy teaches following subjects:

    • Coding with Scratch
    • Introduction to Python Programming Language
    • Web Development/HTML/CSS
    • Microbit Programming

WHO IS ORGANIZING THIS ACADEMY?

Girls Coding Academy is sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute at University of Houston and hosted by UH STEM Center and Department of Curriculum & Instruction at College of Education at University of Houston.

WHO IS THE SUMMER ACADEMY FOR AND WHAT ARE THE GRADE LEVELS?

We believe in young kids’ ability. They can learn knowledge and skills associated with Coding once they are properly guided and supported. We enroll middle school students entering grades 6 to 8 in fall semester for this academy.

IS THERE A RESEARCH ASPECT OF THIS PROJECT?

Yes, we look at students’ attitudes toward careers in Computer Science. Girls Coding Academy is applying to grant programs to support young kids. We also contribute to research in this area.

WHAT ARE THE DATES?

The Girls Coding Academy will run from July 27 – August 1, 2020 virtually. The Academy will be Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 12 pm with optional lab time available between 12 – 2 pm. The optional lab time is included in the fee. Students may choose to join this session.

WHAT ARE THE CLASSES AND TOPICS COVERED IN GIRLS CODING ACADEMY?

We focus on following Computer Science topics in this year’s academy:

    • Coding with Scratch
    • Introduction to Python Programming Language
    • Web Development/HTML/CSS
    • Microbit Programming

The camp includes instruction on Computer Science Topics  Our philosophy is based on project-based learning and hands-on projects. Students complete daily tasks and work on interconnected projects.

WHAT IS SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION?

Your child will be assigned to a small group of 5 -7 students supervised and instructed by a Mentor. Mentors will instruct and help each student individually with their daily tasks and projects during each class period.

WHO ARE MENTORS?

We have undergraduate or graduate students serving as Mentors or Academy counselor. Mentors are responsible for instruction and supervision of the students. Mentors will also be in touch with parents of the students. A high school volunteer may be assigned to your students’ group as a helper/aid depending of the availability.

WHAT IS YOUR STUDENT TO TEACHER RATIO?

We are proud to have a 3:1 student to teacher ratio in our small groups allowing us to teach students 1-on-1 during the majority of activities.

HOW MUCH IS THE ACADEMY FEE?

The Academy fee is $350 per child. There are discounts for siblings, teachers and UH Employees. The fee includes all classes and all activities. In addition, we have a limited number of full scholarships towards registration fee available for students with financial need.

WHAT ARE DISCOUNTS?

Siblings can receive $50 off for each sibling. Teachers can receive $35 off for each child. UH Employees are eligible for $75 for each child. Discount may be combined. You need to send proof of documentation (ID or pay-stub with registration form) for Teacher and UH Employee discounts. You can find out how much you will need to pay when you complete your registration form at http://www.codecougar.org/register

WHAT IS SCHOLARSHIP AND WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

Limited Scholarships are available for students with financial need. We understand that 2020 has been especially hard on some parents due to the pandemic. We provide $350 towards your registration fee as a full scholarship. Parents need to provide following documents when they apply for scholarships: Documentation showing participation in Free and Reduced Lunch program at student’s school, income statement, and a short essay written by student.

SCHOLARSHIP DOCUMENTS

FREE AND REDUCED LUNCH PROGRAM: Student applicant should be a current recipient of Free and Reduced Lunch program at his/her school. (A document proving free and reduced lunch status will be needed. You may need to contact your school to request documentation if you don’t have it already. A screenshot of “free and reduced lunch” status on an official school lunch payment website may be acceptable as documentation)

INCOME STATEMENT: You will be asked to provide your income and a financial circumstance statement as part of registration form. 

STUDENT ESSAY: Students who are applying to scholarships will need to write a 100 word essay explaining why they would like join this academy, how they would benefit from the academy, their academic performance in school and their experience and interest in academy topics.

A committee will review submitted documents and let you know if you qualify for full scholarship for the registration fee.

HOW CAN I PAY?

We accept payment using major credit/debit cards. There is no fee for paying with credit/debit card. We are unable to accept checks or cash. Registration form will direct you to a separate payment website once the form is completed. Your seat/space in the academy won’t be reserved until you make final payment by the registration deadline on July 15, 2020.

CAN MY CHILD PARTICIPATE ONLY A FEW DAYS?

While we strongly encourage students to attend full week of activities, in some cases, we could allow only a few days of academy participation. The normal academy activities are scaffolded and build upon each other from day 1 to day 6. If you need to start the academy a day late or leave early, please talk to academy director after you register.

HOW ARE CLASSES/SUBJECTS ARRANGED?

We implement our unique curriculum which builds upon interconnected projects throughout the academy. That’s why we offer all four classes as a package and can’t allow children to choose between the classes. Students will be taking these classes similar to a mini school schedule where they take some classes on certain days and times. Classes will alternate each day to keep students engaged. A full schedule will be available during the orientation day for parents and students.

WHAT MATERIALS DO I NEED FOR MY CHILD?

Student will need to have access to a desktop or laptop computer. We are unable to provide any computers to our participants. Additionally, students will need a reliable internet connection, microphone and a webcam to participate in the academy.

DO YOU PROVIDE ANY MATERIALS FOR CAMPERS?

Yes, we will provide Microbit programming circuits to each participant. In addition, we have plans to provide a camp t-shirt to each participant.

ARE THERE OTHER ACTIVITIES BESIDES CLASSES?

Yes, students will take breaks between classes (10-15 min) during the day.  We will conduct fun and game-like activities that can be completed virtually during break times.

DO YOU HAVE REWARDS?

We are unable to provide physical rewards this year due to the pandemic. However, we will provide certificates to students who complete their individual tasks regrading their projects at the award ceremony.

WHAT IS AWARD CEREMONY?

We will hold a Virtual Banquet this year. We will gather on the last day of the camp to recognize the success and achievements of our students. They will get certificates and also showcase their completed work.

WHAT CAN STUDENT TAKE HOME THIS YEAR?

Students will be able to take their technology projects home as well as they can keep their Microbits for home use. 

WHAT ARE OTHER POLICIES?

Parents and Students will need to sign on “Consent to participate in academy”, “Student Online Code of Conduct & Acceptable Technology Use Policy”, “Work Permission”, “Liability Form”, and “Media Release” when they register.

IS THERE AN ORIENTATION SESSION FOR PARENTS?

Yes, we will hold an orientation session for parents on July 24  prior to the camp starts. Parents will be notified of details of orientation session after they register.

MENTOR FAQ
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WHO CAN BE A MENTOR?
We need undergraduate or graduate students to serve as “Mentors” at our camp. Current classroom Teachers can also be hired as Mentors.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A “MENTOR”?
Mentors ideally should have prior experience working with students. We expect mentors to have intermediate computer knowledge and skills. Experience in Coding and Programming will be preferred.

DOES MY MAJOR MATTER?
Students majoring in education, computers, technology, and STEM fields will be preferred. However, students majoring in other fields may also apply.

IS THIS A PAID POSITION?
Yes, we are proud to be able to pay our mentors. A competitive pay (at or above student worker rate at UH) for your work will be available.

WHEN AM I GOING TO HEAR FROM THE CAMP?
Within two weeks after you fill out your application form, we will invite you to an online interview. Hiring will be based on your qualifications, interview results, and application materials.

WHAT MATERIALS WILL BE NEEDED TO APPLY?
1. A current resume (including education, prior work/teaching experience, and at least 2 references)
2. A one-page statement on why you would like to be considered for this position
3. Unofficial copy of your transcript showing your current GPA.

WHAT ARE THE HOURS FOR MENTORS?
Mentors need to be available at least 5 hours a day. 9 am to 2 pm every day, Monday-Saturday during the camp week.

WHAT IS MY ROLE AS A MENTOR?
Mentors will be assigned a small group (5-6) of middle school students. You will be responsible for instruction for your group. Mentors will also be in touch with parents of the students. A high school volunteer may be assigned to you as assistant depending on the availability.

WHAT WILL I TEACH?
You will be following an easy-to-implement curriculum created by UH professors. Lesson plans will be available ahead of time. All student work will be hands-on and project-based. Almost all projects will involve use of computers and creating an actual product at the end. UH professors may teach short sections of classes. However, most of the class time will involve mentors helping students individually with the tasks and projects. Camp topics include: (Coding: Scratch, Web Development/HTML/CSS, Python Programming, Microbit Programming)

WHAT IS SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION?
Mentors are expected to help each student with their assigned tasks and projects individually during each class period. You will be teaching only a small group of 5 to 6 students. You need to be able to help each student with their projects in your group during a class session.

ONLINE INSTRUCTION
We will be using an online conference system to hold classes. Each mentor will have his/her online conference account to hold small group class. We will utilize break aways rooms for individual mentoring. Zoom will be our software.

DO I NEED TRAINING TO BE A MENTOR?
Yes, it is mandatory to complete an online training on “Preventing sexual abuse and child molestation” through UH system. Additionally, there will be a training on how to work with middle school students, camp procedures, and on the camp curriculum prior to camp start date.

AM I GOING TO RECEIVE TRAINING ON THE CURRICULUM?
Yes, you will receive materials, tutorials, and lesson plans ahead of the camp. You are expected to study and be prepared. There will be 2 days of curriculum training prior to camp start date. Date and Time will be announced.

WHO WILL BE MY SUPERVISOR?
You will report to camp directors.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF HIGH SCHOOL VOLUNTEER IF HE/SHE IS ASSIGNED TO ME?
You can think volunteers as “teacher aides”. A volunteer’s primary role is to help you with instruction, working and supervising kids in your group. As a Mentor, you will be the primary responsible person and leader in your group.

CAN I BE ABSENT ON SOME DAYS?
No. We expect full attendance unless there is an emergency or a valid excuse.

HOW CAN I APPLY?
Please visit http://www.codecougars.org/mentors to apply. 

VOLUNTEER/INTERN FAQ
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WHAT IS ITECH-STEM/CODE COUGARS?

There are two University of Houston summer programs happening in two separate weeks. ITECH-STEM (http://www.itechstem.org) is a summer STEM Technology Camp designed for elementary students in grades 3-6. We teach Coding, 3D Printing, and Digital Storytelling. CODE COUGARS (http://www.codecougars.org) is a summer Girls Coding Academy. We teach Coding (Scratch, Python, Microbit Programming, Web/HTML/CSS) to middle school students in grades 6-8.

You can be an intern for both camps or just one of the camps of your choice.

WHAT ARE THE CAMP DATES?

Each camp will be for 6 days and will be completed within one week. When you apply, please indicate your availability for each week:

ITECH-STEM: July 20-July 25, 2020

Girls Coding Academy: July 27-August 1, 2020

WHO CAN BE AN INTERN?

We need High School students to become volunteer interns at the camps. 9-12 graders can be interns in our program.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE AN INTERN?

Volunteer interns ideally should have prior experience working with young kids.  All volunteers should have basic computer skills and interest in STEM fields. Any experience in camp topics (Coding, 3D Printing, Digital Storytelling) would be a plus! 

WHAT APPLICATION MATERIALS ARE NEEDED TO APPLY?

You will need your GPA, current resume, and contact information of two references to apply.

WOULD INTERNS BE PAID?

Interns will NOT be paid as this is a volunteer position, but they will be given certificate of appreciation at the end of the program.

CAN YOU FILL OUT MY VOLUNTEER SERVICE HOURS?

Yes, we will be glad to fill out your paperwork for your volunteer/community service hours.

CAN YOU WRITE INTERNS A RECOMMENDATION LETTER?

UH professors may write recommendation letters based on the performance of interns/volunteers. Please inquire with camp director for details.

WHAT ARE THE HOURS FOR INTERNS?

Volunteers need to follow camp hours, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm every day for the duration of the camp.

DO I NEED TRAINING TO BE A VOLUNTEER/INTERN?

Yes, it is mandatory to complete an online training on “Child Protection-Preventing sexual abuse and child molestation”. Additionally, there will be a training on how to work with young children and camp procedures for volunteers.

WHEN WILL I BE RECEIVING TRAINING? IS THERE ANY ORIENTATION DAY FOR VOLUNTEERS?

While you can take your “Child Protection” training online on your own, we will have an online orientation/training session for all interns in July. The date will be announced later. Interns will be asked to join this orientation session/training prior to start of the camp.

WHO WILL BE MY SUPERVISOR?

You will directly work with an undergraduate or graduate student, also called, Mentor. The Mentors will be your immediate supervisor. You will be assigned to a group of 5-7 students led by Mentors.

WHAT IS MY ROLE AS AN INTERN?

Your primary role is to assist your Mentor with instruction, helping and supervising kids in your group. Mentors will be the ultimate responsible person and leader of your group.

CAN I BE ABSENT ON SOME DAYS?

You can be absent on some days as long as there is no regular pattern of absences. We do need regular attendance for the success of the camp. If absences occur, we would need to find another volunteer to replace you.

HOW CAN I APPLY?
Please visit http://www.codecougars.org/interns to apply. 

Girls Coding Academy is sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute at University of Houston and hosted by UH STEM Center and Department of Curriculum & Instruction at College of Education at University of Houston.

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