We believe students in juvenile justice facilities deserve the chance to develop their technology skills and stay abreast of current technology trends, even while they are incarcerated. So, we developed Start from Scratch, a unique, technology-driven initiative that offers students held in juvenile justice facilities the chance to learn coding and programming skills. We held our first Start from Scratch competition in the fall of 2014.
Due to high demand we have continued to sponsor the initiative in the fall of 2015 and 2016.
Start from Scratch starts with a two-day writing exercise. Students write a script responding to a prompt exploring the theme of transformation. The curriculum transitions to instruction with the programming tool, Scratch. Scratch is a free downloadable programming tool, designed out of MIT, that can be used to create animations and games. Scratch supports basic to advanced programming and requires no prior programming experience. Students then have five days to convert their script to an animation using the Scratch skills they learned. The initiative culminates with a nationwide competition.
In 2015, 87 teachers introduced Scratch programming to students in juvenile justice facilities. 130 students submitted animations for the contest, almost three times as many as in 2014. The number of participants remained at similar levels in 2016.
Judges for the Start from Scratch contest come from the private sector, academia, and juvenile justice arenas. Click here to view the winning animations from 2016.