After a record number of reactions and responses to my letter last week, I intend to keep things a little lighter today! For example, I plan to talk about the trip to France I am about to embark on (I am literally on the plane as you read this). My destination is Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne growing region. And although I’m headed there for the annual MLF Congress for heads of French schools throughout the world, I expect I’ll be holding a glass of bubbly in all the photos!
On the agenda: a meeting with the French Minister of Education Mr. Pap Ndiaye, the Director General of the MLF (Mission laïque française) Mr. Jean-Marc Merriaux, and the Director of the Higher Committee on Curriculum (CSP) Mr. Mark Sherringham. And also some names that have recently popped up at The École, such as the sénatrice Samantha Cazebonne who visited us at the start of the month, and the conductor Zahia Ziouani who features at the heart of the movie Divertimento that our middle schoolers attended a screening of on April 28th.
All of that is obviously pretty exciting, but the highlight of my stay in France will be the little detour I take to say hello to my mom, dad, sister, and nephews next Thursday (one of the many public holidays during the month of May in France). I’m looking forward to spending a few hours in their company before getting back on the plane on Friday to be here on time for the Nuit du code. I’m disappointed to miss the Rosé party again this year – from what I’ve heard it’s the hottest ticket in New York right now!
It’s special for me to be back for the Nuit du c0de because I kickstarted the event in 2016 in Taipei (some anecdotes and video cameos can be found here). Thirty kids participated that first year and it’s been growing ever since – this year there are almost 10,000 students taking part from all over the world! When it started out, I wanted to create a project with a strong identity that my school would be associated with – a project that would draw attention to it in what was a very competitive educational landscape. Andria took over the communication in the early years, the Nuit du c0de grew, and it has since gone on to become a rite of passage for students in 100s of schools. The Lycée français de Tokyo now hosts the event, under the exceptional leadership of Laurent Abbal, someone who has been involved in every edition of the Nuit du c0de from the very first.
In concrete terms, during the Nuit du c0de, students have 6 hours to create a video game using Scratch or Python. We consider it an incredible pedagogical adventure – its format is constantly evolving and it allows students to develop and showcase skills that I hadn’t even considered when I first came up with the idea and started talking about it with some of the best math teachers I’d ever worked with – William Faure, Jean-Yves Labouche and Alexis Kauffmann (the latter may ring a bell with our 8th graders; he dropped into The École in the fall for a World of Work session with them.) Creativity, collaboration, helping one another out, endurance, concentration, and friendship. I have wonderful memories from past Nuits du c0de of watching students taking so much pleasure in working together and seeing their pride in their work and their results. I am therefore delighted that this year Camille Martin and Guillaume Duchier accepted to coach our students for the event. I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
I wouldn’t miss being there for the world.