Students in one of our fifth-grade classes at Altoona Elementary School were recently surprised to learn their teacher, Mr. Zach Swanson, had applied for and received a grant from Facebook’s CodeFWD program. This enabled the students to receive a set of new robots that will help them learn about coding and computer science. Through interactive activities, these robots help bring to life what the students have learned with their teacher, Mr. Swanson, about coding principles.

Southeast Polk is committed to fostering academic excellence, leading students to success for college, career and civic life. As an educator, there’s nothing better than seeing the excitement in a student’s eyes when a learned skill is put into action – in this case, the learned skill of coding that is so important to careers now and in the future.

The CodeFWD program is just one way that Facebook has become an essential business partner to Southeast Polk Community School District. Over the past five years, Facebook Altoona Data Center’s Community Action Grant program has provided more than $220,000 for STEM and connected digital learning to our district. Beyond our district, nonprofits serving our community, as well as, Bondurant-Farrar Community School District have received grants from Facebook as well. As nonprofit organizations and schools are diligently managing tight budgets, grant programs like this allow our teachers and students opportunities to expand learning that might not otherwise be possible.

Dr. Dirk Halupnik, Southeast Polk Superintendent, shared, “We are grateful to have companies like Facebook and its employees investing in our community, our schools and our students. As Facebook prepares to potentially expand its presence in Altoona again, we hope that programs like CodeFWD will prepare our students for STEM careers in their own backyard, keeping our homegrown talent right here in our community for generations.”

At Southeast Polk, we create curriculum and learning opportunities centered on the latest trends in theory and education. Community grants and partnerships support our district initiatives which aid students in meeting high standards of academic achievement.