Impact at Skill Struck

The purpose of this report is to show how we are impacting communities with computer science education, artificial intelligence, and typing each year on a national level. This is the fourth report we've published.
Illustrations of students.

Accountability in Strengthening Communities

Our mission at Skill Struck is threefold: inspire creators, grow problem solvers, and strengthen communities. We publish this report every year to show accountability in our mission to impact the communities we serve and show how we and our partners are making a difference in the lives of students and teachers using our products.

Note: In years previous, our Impact Reports have focused on demographic data from our district partners and Skill Struck staff. In light of the significant growth we’ve seen, and school districts’ focus on student privacy, we cannot share demographic data that accurately reflects all of our student users. That being said, this year’s report will focus on student and teacher stories, showing how computer science and AI have made an impact on their lives.

Strengthening Educators

2023 was a year full of innovation, creation, and growth for our products and our partnerships. We added to our computer science curriculum and activities for a more comprehensive K-12 experience. We also built new products! Including Chat for Schools, a safe ChatGPT replacement for K-12 schools, and Learning Studio, an AI-powered teaching assistant. 

These two new AI-powered products have saved educators multiple hours a week on administrative tasks, giving educators more time to focus their energy on their students. Strengthening educators and supporting them in their important roles will always be a top priority for Skill Struck. 

Here are quick stories on how Chat for Schools and Learning Studio saved a couple of our partners valuable time:

Image of Jennifer Reiff.
“My EMT teacher has expressed appreciation in having Chat for Schools to create activities - saving her multiple hours a night!”

Jennifer Reiff
CTE Director
Whitley County Consolidated Schools
Image of Michael Drezek
“The tutor creator [saved me time] in that it could give students attention in my absence. The lesson plan/activity generator also helped save me time thinking of new ideas. It assisted me in the simple fact that I had a guide on the side. Teachers value time and Chat for Schools helped with that.”

Michael Drezek
District Technology Integrator
Lake Shore CSD

Serving Communities

Our partnerships with K-12 school districts spanned 37 different states in 2023! We now serve school districts in rural, urban, suburban, and underrepresented communities.

1. New York
2. Mississippi
3. Florida
4. Indiana
5. Wisconsin
6. Nevada
7. Utah
8. DC - Virginia
9. Illinois
10. Georgia
11. New Mexico
12. Oklahoma
13. Arizona
14. Texas
15. California
16. Washington
17. Idaho
18. North Carolina
19. Lousiana
20. South Dakota
21. Virginia
22. Wyoming
23. Kentucky
24. Tennessee
25. Alabama
26. Nebraska
27. Arkansas
28. Colorado
29. Missouri
30. Kansas
31. Massachusetts
32. Maryland
33. Michigan
34. Delaware
35. Ohio
36. Iowa
37. Pennsylvania
A map of the United States, showing the states that have Skill Struck customers in them.

To ensure we are supporting the communities we serve, we strongly encourage all our partners to share feedback as they use our products. In 2023 we received over 1000 points of product feedback.

Listening to the needs of our partners helps us make our products more equitable for all communities, serving all types of students.

Strengthening Students

In 2023, our student users:

An image of the lines of code, logins, and checkpoints completed in 2023 by Skill Struck student users.

+ Logged into Skill Struck 2,458,962 times (a 163% increase from 2022)
+ Completed 3,438,225 auto-graded checkpoints, or tests, for comprehension.
+ Wrote 4,301,710 lines of code (a 50% increase from 2022)

An illustration of Izabella.

Student Spotlight: Izabella wins regional code competition

Meet Izabella, a 4th grader from Georgia. Last year Izabella, along with a small group of other 3rd graders, was introduced to computer science and Skill Struck. Under the wing of an inspired teacher, Mike Afdahl, she spent 30 minutes a week learning to code. Afdahl was curious to discover if learning to code would improve these students' math scores. And it did! 

Now as a fourth grader, Izabella has continued exploring this newfound skill and recently participated in a region-wide coding competition. Izabella was not only a brave and confident competitor but she also came home that day with a winning trophy!

"I am so proud of her - she is growing into an amazing young lady," said Izabella’s mom. 

When we think of strengthening communities Izabella’s experience with learning to code is our deepest wish. Computer science has improved her learning experience with Math and her math scores reflect that. She has also developed a valuable new skill she excels at, her confidence has increased, and she’s experiencing a strong sense of belonging in the coding community. Izabella is a perfect example of the possibilities available to students when they are introduced to coding.

Partners Strengthening Communities

We can’t share Izabella’s success without also highlighting her teacher Mike Afdahl.  He is the Coordinator of Technology Services at Northwest Georgia RESA where he supports the instructional and technology goals of 17 districts. 

Mike attended our Summer 2022 Skill Summit where he learned that If a student studies computer science (CS) their test scores in other areas will increase by 10%. In the 2022-2023 school year, Mike partnered with Skill Struck to introduce coding to a small group of eight third-grade students struggling in math. Hoping to see their math scores improve, he spent 30 minutes a week teaching them computer science principles using fun and interactive activities on our platform and off.

Images of students from Mike Afdahl's class.

The Results

Mike compared the student's end-of-year test results with their beginning-of-the-year test results taken in the fall. Mike was mostly interested in looking at these students' Algebraic thinking improvement because Algebraic thinking has a lot of correlation with the computational thinking developed from learning to code. Here are some interesting findings from the study: 

+ The national average for third graders in the fall was 188.
+ This group’s average in the fall was 175. (This is about one grade level below. Students grow about 13 points in a typical year)
+ The national average in the spring was 201.

This group's average in the spring was 206. (31-point growth in one year!)

Image showing off the data points from Mike's classroom.
Bar graphs showing student progress after a year of learning computer science.

Mike wanted to see if developing computational thinking skills could change the brain and unlock something within them to be able to receive Math instruction better. These results show that his hypothesis was correct.

Image of Mike Afdahl.
Mike said, "now as they go into 4th grade they are equipped in their math classrooms not just with better math knowledge but they have better math computational skills and better able to receive instruction. Which results in lifelong progress.”

Learn more about Mike's process, his incredible students, and their experience takeaway here.

Skill Struck's Internship Program: Enhancing Quality for our Diverse Users

In 2023 we continued our internship program. We worked with 22 high school students from Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia providing them with quality assurance opportunities. 

The interns went through our platforms, read the lessons, took quizzes, completed challenges, and reported any bugs they came across. They also provided feedback based on their own learning styles and perspectives.

“Diversity is key in our internship program since these interns are helping us develop a computer science curriculum and platform for all types of learners,” explained Ann Gomez, our Customer Support Manager and High School Internship Coordinator.

Map of the United States, showing the states where Skill Struck has interns.

Intern Spotlight: Josh Officially Joins The Skill Struck Team

Skill Struck's beloved Quality Assurance Analyst, Josh Frandsen first came to Skill Struck as an intern over 3 years ago. Josh, an avid fisherman, is non-verbal autistic and has been testing our product since he’s been here. Ann Gomez said:

“Josh joined our intern team in November 2020, post-high school and after completing an IT Certification. After the internship was over, he asked permission to keep learning and ended up staying with us for three years! He tested as he learned HTML, CSS, Python, all of the elementary curriculum (in Spanish and English), Robotics, and many other courses.

Josh is incredibly reliable, growth-minded, methodical, and has a great eye for detail. We have come to rely on his curriculum suggestions (always spot on) and to find all the bugs and other issues along the way to help improve the platform for all students.”

We all were excited to see Josh join our Support Team as a part-time QA tester in September 2023.

Image of Josh.
“I enjoy working at Skill Struck because everyone is really nice and willing to jump in and help resolve the bugs. It’s been a positive experience and I like working on a team,” Josh shared.

Josh Frandsen
Quality Assurance Analyst
Skill Struck

Because of Josh, more students all over the world can learn how to code. We are lucky to have him sharing his skills and perspective with us!

Preparing Students for a Successful Future

Our Internship program introduces these high school students to the many career possibilities in computer science. Once a week the interns meet virtually and learn from a Skill Struck team member about their job and responsibilities. Caroline, an intern in 2023, said:

Image of Caroline.
“The weekly intern huddles facilitated by the Skill Struck team allowed me to explore different computer science careers. Each week, a member would share about their specific job, opening my eyes to professions I hadn't even known existed. I believe that this is one of the most unique aspects of the teen internship program. I was given a glimpse into each speaker’s life, and it even helped me decide what career path I wanted to take.”

Intern Spotlight: Caroline Passes The PCEP Exam

While Caroline participated in our internship program she had the opportunity to take our PCEP certification prep course which prepares students to take The Python Institute’s PCEP, or Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer, Exam. Passing this exam proves understanding of the essentials of Python and showcases readiness for an entry-level Python programmer position or readiness to proceed to study intermediate levels of Python.  

After completing Skill Struck's PCEP Prep Course Caroline took the exam and passed on her very first try!  

“What amazed me most wasn't just passing the exam on my first try, but achieving that solely through Skill Struck’s PCEP prep course, without any prior Python knowledge or using external platforms. The Learning Team at Skill Struck did a phenomenal job of covering everything necessary for the exam within the course, and I wholeheartedly recommend the PCEP prep course to anyone starting their Python journey,” Caroline said.

Skill Struck currently offers six certification prep courses for industry exams, preparing students to pass these crucial exams. Our team prioritizes career readiness by providing opportunities like internships and our comprehensive certification prep courses.

Learn more about Caroline and the certification prep courses we offer here.

Fun illustration.

Looking Forward

In 2024, we will continue listening to the feedback from our district and prospective partners to help us build a product that serves all communities. Our product team will be working on adding more in-depth curriculum to our platforms, and building safe, guided AI-powered tools that can help transform the classroom experience. We also plan to work with more teachers and administrators to find more student stories about how CS has impacted their lives.

Until next year!

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