Students at Petty Elementary School in Taft are currently coding full-time as part of the Taft Independent School District's full-immersion computer science program, the first of its kind in South Texas.

The district showcased the program on Thursday.

"When I saw this program at a national conference, I just thought this is great," Taft ISD Superintendent Joe Lopez said. "This is what we need in Taft. This is where Texas is headed."

The students learned problem-solving skills through algorithms on campus issued laptops.

"It has to do with high-level order thinking skills. It's providing them with the skills for future careers," Lopez said.

Parents were able to see Thursday for the first time what their children have been working for the last three months.

"It's called 'My Story,' and it tells us about me and my friends, and it tells you what you like to do, what you like to eat," first-grader Kinzie said.

Taft is the only school district in Texas south of Houston to implement the coding program. A few elementary schools offer a coding section, but it is rare to have a program run throughout the year.

"By the time they leave fifth grade, they will be Java trained, which means pretty much when they get to high school we are looking at dual-credit certification," Lopez said. "Graduating with a certification."

The skills the students are learning now will help them prepare for advances in technology later.

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