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Finding Peace through Coding at the Wyoming Girls' School, Getting Smart in San Diego County's Juvenile Hall

'My grandma always told me that if you’re doing something you love, you’re at peace with yourself. And when I think about coding, and do coding, I’m at peace with myself.'   That's Shawnee, a 14 year-old student confined at the Wyoming Girls' School, reflecting on how she feels when she's working on coding at school.  Here's what Jocelyn, who's locked up at San Diego County's Juvenile Hall, says about the blended learning program that she's involved with at her school: 'It feels good. I’m actually accomplishing something. I feel a sense of smartness, that I’m getting there.'
Shawnee and Jocelyn's stories were highlighted in Marketplace's powerful series that ran this week on LearningCurve. They exemplify what can happen when facility administrators believe in students and open up their schools to using Internet-enhanced educational tools and when dedicated, creative teachers have the resources and the freedom to introduce blended learning to their classrooms: young people who have failed at and been failed by schools for years get engaged, find meaning and start to like school and learning.  

If you missed the stories, you can listen to and read them HERE. I hope you'll do that.  You can also see what teachers and administrators from around the country have to say about using educational technology to transform juvenile justice education on Twitter, by following the hashtag #jjedtech.  
At CEEAS, we are proud to have been able to support the Wyoming Girls' School as they boldly implemented a series of reforms that enabled students to access Internet supported educational resources including an Hour of Code toolkit.  And we salute our colleagues in San Diego for putting computers into the hands of their students and debunking the myth that kids in locked facilities just can't be trusted with computers and Internet access.  As Mindy McCartney,  the supervising probation officer at San Diego's Juvenile Hall said: 'Everybody thinks they are going to use [the laptop] as a Frisbee, or attack somebody, or they are going to tag it and break it. And it simply hasn't happened.'
We remain committed to ensuring that Shawnee, Jocelyn and their peers are not alone. Students who are locked up in juvenile justice facilities across the country deserve access to educational technology that can make school more engaging and meaningful and can help prepare students to be successful at school and work when they are released. 
The Wyoming Girls' School is a member of our Blended Learning Initiative Unjammed.  Through Unjammed we help juvenile justice agencies and their education partners use the Internet and blended learning to transform school culture inside of their long-term secure care facilities. 
If you represent a juvenile justice agency and are interested in learning more about Unjammed 2.0, our 2015-16 blended learning initiative, that will launch this spring, click HERE. Expressions of Interest are due on Wednesday, March 4th. If you would like to learn more about how CEEAS works with juvenile justice agencies to implement blended learning solutions, email us
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