Students typing on their computers

Chicago Heights School District 170's STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Program has initiated a new class that provides all sixth graders in the district with the opportunity to learn software coding.

Nick Pezzuto, Director of the STEM Program, is spearheading the effort and will be teaching the students HTML5, a universal software language.

In learning the programming language, students will acquire the skills required to develop web pages and websites, as well as procuring skills that will assist them in a wide variety of future endeavors.

"I welcome the opportunity to expand the STEM software coding initiative to schools district-wide," Pezzuto said.

"The response to the software coding classes has been overwhelmingly positive, and I sincerely believe that the acquisition of these skills will prove invaluable to our students as they move further into the 21st Century."

In other STEM-related news, the BPA (Business Professionals of America), sponsored by Pezzuto and Mark Pesavento, has begun its third year of existence in District 170 and is expanding its membership to include 7th- and 8th-grade students from all the district's schools.

The Business Professionals of America is the country's leading CSO (Career and Technical Student Organization) for students seeking to pursue careers in business management and administration, information technology, advertising, and other business related activities.

Students joining BPA may choose to take offered classes in Public Speaking, Video Production, Business and Math Analysis, and Website Design. Later in the year, students will participate in both state and national competitions providing the opportunity to earn awards and scholarships.

Last year, School District 170 sent nine students to represent School District 170 at the BPA's National Leadership in Boston.

"When we started the BPA Chapter in School District 170 we hoped to provide our student members with an opportunity to learn a wide-ranging group of skills that are essential to success in the business environment," said District 170 Superintendent Tom Amadio.

"The program has proven phenomenally successful in achieving that aim, and through the effort and initiative of our student members, and under the direction of Mr. Pezzuto and Mr. Pesavento, I believe that we will see our students' skills continue to grow in areas essential to their future success."