This past week, I was honored to have been invited to the White House for the Summit on Computer Science for All Students. The goal of the Summit was to bring innovative schools together with business partners and app developers to help promote computer science in the schools.
Currently, less than 25% of the schools in the USA have any kind of computer science courses. My school district, is in the 75% that does not have computer science and we have heard over and over again that our graduates say that they are way behind in college because of the lack of computer science courses. We have had inform discussions for years about how can we start a computer science program. The major road block for us has been a properly credentialed teacher. In Ohio, to teach a computer science course a teacher must have a computer science or very specific business teaching license. This is incredibly hard to find.
By attending this summit it was my hope to find a way around this so that we can begin a computer science pathway, and I did find a way. We currently have two different Project Lead the Way Pathways (Biomedical and Pre-Engineering). PLTW now as a computer science pathway (grades 7-12). If a teacher becomes certified through PLTW then they can teach the computer science courses, eliminating our biggest road block.
During the Summit, I met numerous individuals that are more than willing to donate materials, resources, apps, lesson plans to help move the CSforAll push moving forward. Even though the Summit was only a day and half long, I made the connections that will allow our District to hopefully move forward in developing a computer science pathway.
So more conversations need to happen over staffing, funding, equipment, proper training, student interest and selection of teachers. But I believe that we can move people around, look at outdated courses and start the program without adding additional staff. Also since the pathway is PLTW, we can file for a Career Tech Pathway and earn additional funding for the school district to support the equipment needed for a Computer Science pathway.