ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – One East St. Louis elementary school is breaking tradition with their new computer coding classes for students of all ages.

The red brick Dunbar Elementary rises above the overgrown lot across the street and the bumpy road to stand as a beacon of hope for the 500 students inside. On the inside, it’s like any other school in the country with brightly colored posters and signs on nearly every wall.

Principal Carlynda Coleman says her school was the first in the district to introduce coding to the students in every grade, kindergarten through fourth. Some are now learning how to build apps. Each grade is also identified with an historically black college. She calls it Dunbar University.

“We want students to know that college is not out of their reach. Just because you’re from East St. Louis and you may not feel like it’s your reality, it can be your reality,” she says.

Coleman brought coding classes to Dunbar after President Obama helped launch the Hour of Code in 2014. She says the coding classes and the college culture have improved student behavior and helped many raise their grades.

“You can do wonderful things,” she tells her students. “There is no difference between you a student from Edwardsville or Clayton or different areas like that.”

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