Governor Bullock celebrated Computer Science Education Week by visiting not only an urban school, but also a rural school.
By Colter Peterson
Governor Bullock celebrated Computer Science Education Week by visiting not only an urban school, but also a rural school. He participated in the “Hour of Code” in Billings and Plevna to highlight further opportunities to prepare Montana students for jobs in the computer science fields. Governor Bullock wants all Montana students to have the opportunity to fill the high-demand, high-paying jobs of the future. Last year Montana had over 500 job openings for the 75 Montana graduates with a degree in Computer Science. The number of jobs in Montana requiring a Computer Science Degree is predicted to rise to 33,000 within the next 10 years. Plevna School has been implementing Computer Science in grades K-12 for several years. Ms. Kirschten has been using the “Hour of Code” with her students for the last 3 years. This year, she offered a Computer Science class to the Junior High students while incorporating it into many of the elementary technology classes.
Governor Bullock graced us with his presence Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. Mrs. Walker, County Commissioner Steven Baldwin, and Baker Mayor JoDee Pratt greeted him as he arrived. Governor Bullock and his staff made their way to the lunchroom, where Connie Lang and Berdie Rieger served a delicious Chicken Parmesan with Angel Hair Pasta, Rolls, and Mandarin Oranges. For dessert, they enjoyed Denver Pudding. After the delicious meal, Mrs. Wagnon provided music for our guests with the Plevna School Band playing Anton Dvorkak’s Largo from the New World Symphony and the Plevna School Choir singing Pura Vida by Christi Carrie Miller.
Following this, Dacy Buerkle, President of the Student Council, presented Governor Bullock with a Plevna Cougar t-shirt, Plevna Lanyard, a booklet with all the students signatures in it, and a Plevna purple and gold stocking-hat knitted by Mrs. Wagnon. Dacy Buerkle also presented the Governor with a crate of Montana Made Foods from the Plevna FFA.
Governor Bullock along with those representing code.org then went to Ms. Kirschten’s 4th Grade “Hour of Coding” Class and worked with the students on computer coding. The students and the Governor designed codes for their Minecraft characters enabling them to make it through many obstacles ranging from a pool of lava to destroying blocked pathways as well as using building blocks to get out of harm’s way. They watched several videos with instructions and objectives to get to the end of the Hour of Code Game.
After they finished the Hour of Code, Governor Bullock visited with the 6th and the 8th grade classes. They were able to ask the Governor questions they had and voice their concerns. Some of the questions they asked were about “net neutrality” and if he was for or against it. The Governor was against taking away net neutrality because he does not want to go back in time; he wants to keep moving forward and by keeping our net neutrality, we can keep creating jobs and becoming more advanced in our technology. Another question they had was why the government did not call the Jordan fire a national disaster. He said that he worked very hard to get the government to consider it a national disaster, but they said there were not enough people in danger in that area to consider having it be listed as a national disaster.
Some of the students and teachers were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss a few points of politics with the Governor. The students and staff of the Plevna School enjoyed having Governor Bullock and his staff visit our school for the afternoon, and were thrilled that he and those representing code.org were an active part of Ms. Kirschten’s 4th Grade “Hour of Coding” Class.