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Organizational Overview: ChiCode is organized by high school students from around the City of Chicago - all looking to alter the computer science curriculum by engaging more students from all walks of life. By organizing coding events and holding workshops, we hope to increase computer science awareness among middle and high school students alike and inspire them to fulfill our societys growing need for technical workers. We consists of coders with years of experience, and who have also been organizers for past Major League Hacking and StudentRND-related hackathons such as ChiHacks and CodeDay. There are thousands of coding hackathons across the United States, but there isnt a single one meant specifically for Chicago Public School (CPS) students. As a public school district serving 392,000 students across 660 schools, there is a large source of untapped computer science potential among our citys youth. CPS recently addressed the need for more computing skills by introducing a CS4ALL initiative meant to integrate computer science classes into our core curriculum. To date, 107 CPS schools have implemented this curriculum, 41 of which are high schools which added computer science as part of their graduation requirement. The computer science classes offered through this initiative, however, are not enough to make a meaningful impact. If students want to enter the workforce with high value and contribute meaningfully to the companies solving our societys problems, they need to experience project-based team collaboration. And to fulfill that requirement, they rely on outside events such as coding hackathons that seek to empower and strengthen our next generation of workers. ChiCode will address the need for increased computer science awareness through a two-part plan. Our first approach is to organize a league of hackathons across Chicago. Hackathons are essentially coding events where individuals gather to work on projects with a particular theme, but always to solve a problem within their community. They are an effective tool for promoting computer science through the way they incentivize creativity and teamwork. Coding can lead to some spectacular results, but only if all participants feel welcome. For that reason, we are creating a hackathon with no intimidation factor whatsoever - beginners are not just permitted but encouraged to attend. We will hold workshop events to introduce our new computer scientists and give them the knowledge they need to materialize their projects. Rather than be a traditionally competitive hackathon, we will put the emphasis on learning as you build in hopes of inspiring them to continue with computer science. Historically, hackathons struggle due to a lack of diversity, the single most important factor in making all coders feel welcome. It is impossible to tackle our communitys problems using technology without considering everyones perspective. With locations such as Chicago Tech Academy, we want to make our event accessible to all students, not just those from more privileged neighborhoods. Above all, we want to have the diversity of our coding events reflect the diversity of Chicago. This includes female coders who have also been underrepresented in computer science. The second part of our plan consists of a bi-weekly young developers meetup in downtown Chicago. Every two weeks, student coders can come together and young developers meetup every two weeks.
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