Making the most of a challenging summer: Ralston High School and AIM conclude new virtual self-paced web development course for students

August 7, 2020

The AIM Institute and Ralston High School have partnered to deliver an online, self-paced course in web development for high schoolers and are celebrating the successful completion of its inaugural run. The course was administered by AIM Code School instructor Vanessa Kasun, who held regular office hours and was available to answer students’ questions.

The benefits of the course are numerous, said Emily Matis, director of AIM Code School. Aside from the more obvious plusses, such as teaching valuable coding skills and helping students sustain their academic progress despite the pandemic, the course gave participants the chance to maintain a little more freedom during summer break.

“Students could move through the curriculum at their own pace, finish projects at their own pace, and reach out to Vanessa with any questions they had about the material,” Matis said.

The course fulfills AIM’s mission to grow, connect and inspire the tech talent community, and also meets Ralston Public School’s goal of exposing students to what they call “H3” careers: those that are in high demand, require a high level of skill and pay high wages.

“It’s important for us to give students those skills to help them be successful in those careers if that’s the path that they choose,” said Joshua Wilken, career education and EL coordinator for Ralston Public Schools.

Wilken said coding classes are in high demand among the student population at Ralston High School.

“We have so many students who are interested in information technology and web development and coding,” Wilken said. “We just wanted to take this one step further by offering a web development course to these students, with an institution that is extremely reputable with an excellent framework for teaching.” 

AIM helps people at all stages in their development—from students to experienced IT managers—make their way along the tech career path through tech education, coding classes, leadership development academies and industry events. To that end, AIM has also launched a free Tech Navigator program offering personalized guidance to anyone interested in entering or furthering their progress in the technology field.

“We’ve had a tremendous experience working with the AIM Institute as a community partner,” Wilken said. “I think AIM has done a tremendous job of making this program accessible to our students. Their communication has been outstanding, and I know that our students have had a wonderful experience.”

Wilken said the response was so favorable, AIM and Ralston are discussing ways to extend the collaboration and make the class available to more students. 

“Students who responded to me that weren’t able to take the course this summer, they’re like, ‘Dr. Wilken, please let us know about future opportunities, because this is something that we want to be a part of,’” he said. “I’m excited to see where it can go.”

AIM also partners with Omaha South High School to offer a similar course. Two of that pilot program’s graduates received paid internships at Union Pacific this summer. 

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