WHITTIER – Río Hondo College will host a coding fair from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 for students from El Monte City School District to showcase projects that demonstrate efforts to discover solutions to real-world problems.

“Río Hondo College is excited to be the host for this innovative program to help prepare today’s youth for our increasingly technologically oriented world,” Superintendent/President Dr. Arturo Reyes said. “This kind of innovation is also a hallmark of our many career-focused and academic programs that develop similar computer science skills. We hope the students who explore coding through this program will return to Río Hondo College in the future to advance their studies.”

The event is sponsored by the Learning Enrichment & Academic Resources Network (LEARN), a Whittier-based educational nonprofit. The agency received a three-year grant in 2018 to offer Kids Code, an after-school coding program at El Monte City School District’s Cortada, Portrero, Wilkerson and Shirpser elementary schools.

Kids Code, launched in April 2019, teaches students coding fundamentals and connects the skills to real-world applications, including higher education studies and careers in computer science. In its first year, the program targeted fifth-graders; this year, the program has expanded to include sixth-graders.

Students are taught using Scratch, an online program that uses block-based visual programming language. They also use programs such as Discovering Robotics and CS First Coding.

The Río Hondo College coding fair is the second of three workshops held over the course of the year. The first, held in November 2019, focused on student instructors as role models. Students in the program shared their skills with younger students.

The January fair focuses on the use of critical thinking and collaboration skills to tackle an everyday problem. The final workshop, held at the end of the year, will see students teach their parents what they have learned.