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Who Trained Teens That Built an Overdose Alert?

Above, the teens that created the Bad Batch alert system. Code in the Schools


CITS participants. Code in the Schools

Last October, six Baltimore teens working at Code in the Schools built a text alert to warn people when an area’s heroin overdoses soar. CITS teaches computer science to underserved and underrepresented youth in Baltimore City. Technical.ly Baltimore broke this story.

The teens’ Bad Batch Alert is an anonymous free text messaging service to help keep heroin addicts from dying. The coders, 16-19-years-old, continue to meet weekly to add functionality to the service and fix bugs.

This spring, two Bad Batch team members were graduated from high school. One will study computer science at Stevenson University in the fall. The other is still deciding where and what he’ll study.

CITS alumni have also been accepted at Morgan State University, Towson University, the University of Maryland, University of Baltimore, Capital University and other schools. All CITS alumni have some type of scholarship and most intend to major in computer science.

Watch Adam Savage, of MythBusters, visit with Code in the Schools.

CITS was co-founded in 2013 by Gretchen LeGrand, and her spouse Mike LeGrand. Ms. LeGrand is the CITS Executive Director.

To get the Bad Batch alert: text ‘Join’ to 952-222-5378

The gist: An active heroin user, or a loved one, registers with Bad Batch. Users get a text when there is an uptick in fentanyl-tainted heroin use in their area. Bad Batch’s goal is to lower addict dosages–avoiding overdoses–and advising loved ones. Follow Bad Batch on Facebook.

Click here, for other STEMRules code-related features.

Bad Batch is data-driven. A Baltimore Health Dept. epidemiologist analyzes Emergency Medical Services information, and “When a spike is detected, a text alert is sent to all the users registered in that area.”

The CITS students learned to work with code for Heroku, a cloud app program as a service, and Twilio, a cloud communications app.

The 411 on Code in the Schools


Code in the Schools, a nonprofit, partners with the Baltimore City Public School System, city agencies, and local groups to teach computer science to Baltimore kids during In-school, after-school, and summer programs.

Follow Code in the Schools on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

CITS has over 800 students on average involved in various Code in The Schools summer programs and 2,500 students during the year. There are 65 students, between 15-21, in CodeWorks bootcamp this summer.  CITS has 22 partner organizations, in 10 Baltimore City locales, that teach key CS skills.

CITS Programs

CITS students study web, and video game, development, robotics, and programming languages including Python, which is used to create apps for websites, database design, and coding.

Contact CITS

In-school: providing programming classes in 6 elementary and middle schools. High-school students are in the Prodigy Program, see below.

CITS also focuses on refining the technical education curriculum and pathway into employment through its Prodigy Program and CodeWorks.

Out-of-school: Topics run a gamut from app development to robotics and “provides curriculum, materials, and instructors to ensure quality programming with measurable outcomes.”

Prodigy Program: Provides 15-to-21-year-olds with after-school vocational training focused on vital tech skills including learning advanced computer science concepts while working on local projects.

*One Prodigy Promise alumna is interning at Facebook, and another is working at Sparkypants, a Baltimore game development company.

CITS Summer Programs

CodeWorks: CITS and the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development YouthWorks partner to provide a 5-week paid coding boot camp for youth to learn CS.

CITS also has roughly eight summertime community partners that provide programming for grade and middle-school children.

Check out CITS 2017 Events

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