Services for Educators

IDRA VisionCoders

Computer Science Course to Serve 1,400 Students in San Antonio

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VisionCoders photo Dwight MS

VisionCoders is a new eighth-grade computer science course being developed by IDRA in partnership with Texas A&M University–San Antonio and Title I middle schools in Bexar County. In this course, middle school students who are in at-risk situations will become software designers who create educational games for prekindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students (their “buddies”).

High-quality, social-emotional learning (SEL) and asset-based STEM-Computer Science program

In-school program offers students who are in at-risk situations to become the next generation of software coders.

IDRA’s profile of the VisionCoders target districts shows that adult employment trends in computer-related fields fall well below the national average of 7%. According to our findings, in the largely Latino ASPIRE geographic area, less than 1% of adults work in computer-related fields. But today’s fastest-growing careers are tech-driven from healthcare to telecommunications to aerospace.

VisionCoders photo Kazen

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer science research jobs alone to increase by 19% by 2026. And 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing.

“VisionCoders students mentor their elementary buddies. We have witnessed how this experience is already strengthening student perceptions of self and school, as well as their sense of belonging.” – Stephanie Garcia, VisionCoders director

IDRA is partnering with Palo Alto College and Athens Elementary School this year as our participating buddy campuses within South San Antonio ISD. Each month, VisionCoders students build educational game prototypes aimed to enhance their buddy’s math and literacy skills.VisionCoders students in eight participating Title I middle school campuses will improve their computational thinking skills, computing identity and math skills. This requires having well-prepared and knowledgeable teachers, which is why VisionCoders integrates focused teacher training through a master’s level course through TAMUSA.

In 2022-23, the program was piloted in South San Antonio ISD. The program is expanding to eight schools in Bexar County to operate the program in 2023-24. IDRA trained teachers and provides assistance throughout the school year.

This field-initiated, research-based program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information, contact Dr. Stephanie Garcia, VisionCoders project director and IDRA’s STEM and gender equity education specialist at

VIsionCoders Phases 2023


Embedding Social-Emotional Learning into Student-Serving Programs, by Stephanie García, Ph.D.

Bring VisionCoders to Your School – Webinar for San Antonio-area Middle Schools: March 27, 2023 (watch recording)

Middle Schoolers Becoming Software Designers while Supporting Younger Students – South San Antonio ISD Students Pilot IDRA’s New VisionCoders Course, February 9, 2023

VisionCoders Teens Learn Computer Science to Support Younger Students – IDRA Responds to Pandemic’s Effects on Social Emotional Learning, by Stephanie García, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter, November-December 2022

New Power Advisory Team Guides Program to Support Budding Teen Software Designers – San Antonio Middle School Students to Become Software Designers in IDRA & Texas A&M University–San Antonio “VisionCoders™ Program, August 31, 2021

San Antonio Middle School Students to Become Software Designers – IDRA & Texas A&M University–San Antonio Launch ‘VisionCoders™’ with $3.89M Federal Grant, January 15, 2021


Infographic: Computer Science = Problem Solving

Infographic: STEM Trends by Gender

eBook: Computer Science Resources Overview

eBook: Girls in STEM Education – Research Overview and Resources