Beyond The Hour of Code: The Impact of Computer Science Education

| Shelley Stern Grach

On December 15, 2014, Sandra Abraveya, Director of Education Policy, City of Chicago, summarized the amazing success for Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago during Computer Science Education Week—hard facts as evidenced by the numbers:

  • Nearly 60,000 CPS students learned to code
  • There were 375 Hour of Code Events
  • 100 nonprofits, museums and companies banded together for an Hour of Code including The Museum of Science and Industry, YWCA TechGyrls, Blue 1647, Girls Who Code, Chicago Public Library and YOUMedia, Lumity and The Field Museum.

As we start our new year and our increased focus to bring Computer Science skills to more teachers, more students, and more families in Chicago, I thought it would be both interesting and inspirational to see how Chicago fits into the larger, global picture. While we tend to focus on our progress in Chicago and we definitely should celebrate our successes, it’s also important to note that these initiatives are happening everywhere, at a similarly accelerated pace. This is great news for our global society—but it also means that Chicago needs to continue to be aggressive in our goals and accelerate our programs to keep pace with the world at large. This is the competitive landscape where Chicago is competing for talent, jobs and growth. Let’s continue to be determined and uncompromising in the standard we set and the resources we provide to our children so they have the best chance to be successful in our global society.

Following you will see some best practices and some amazing statistics from Launched in 2013,® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.

This past month, we joined the City of Chicago in Computer Science Education Week and’s Hour of Code. Working together with Chicago Public Schools and beyond, CS Ed Week saw the best of STEM in Chicago come together, helping to bridge the skills gap and getting kids and adults alike involved in computer science. In 2014 alone, 60 million students tried the Hour of Code—but it will take more than an hour to continue their education.

Here are some ways keeps kids coding past CS Ed Week:

  1. Take More Courses:org has a catalog of over 100 hours worth of computer science courses for students aged 4 and up. Over 4 million students are enrolled worldwide in Code Studio, and these courses are taught in over 90,000 schools.
  2. School Partnerships: Along with Chicago Public Schools, has partnered with over 40 school districts to bring computer science education to students across the country.
  3. Reaching Diverse Students: Only a few thousand female African American and Hispanic students earn computer science degrees annually.’s Code Studio reach over 1 million girls and 1 million African American and Hispanic students.
    Beyond The Hour of Code: The Impact of Computer Science Education
  4. Making Computer Science a Policy: 25 states count computer science as a high school graduation requirement. Together with Computing in the Core, is working to change policies on computer science in all 50 states.
  5. International Outreach: doesn’t just stop in the states. Their partnerships reach out to the UK, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Romania, Albania, and the Middle East, and their courses are translated into over 30 languages.
    Beyond The Hour of Code: The Impact of Computer Science Education

What’s Next?

There’s more work to be done, and plenty of ways to keep computer science education thriving in your schools. Microsoft is proud to be a global partner with, helping them achieve their mission worldwide. We share the excitement and achievements of, as well as the fantastic success of Chicago Public Schools. Let’s all keep the momentum!

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.