Ensuring Computer Science For All

Dec 9, 2016   |   Brenda Wilkerson

Each December, Microsoft is proud to partner on a global level with code.org and their Hour of Code program. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104. Find free tutorials here: https://hourofcode.com/us

To support the Early College STEM Schools and the Computer Science 4 All program, Chicago Public Schools and local nonprofits turn their focus to enhancing STEM and STEAM skills through the Hour of Code (HoC). We’re delighted to share with you a series of guest blogs from leaders at CPS about why Computer Science skills are so important to students for their long term success. Each story is a little different, but all reinforce the positive impact coding and Computer Science skills have on the education process.

— Shelley Stern Grach

cs-for-all_chiWe’ve come a long way in three years. CS4All at Chicago Public Schools officially launched during CS Ed Week in 2013, with the goal of getting computer science education to every student in our district, starting with the graduating class of 2020. That first step is now close to being a reality—this year’s freshmen are now required to graduate with a full-year course in computer science under their belt. We are offering such a course at 63 of the district’s 106 traditional high schools, and will work with the remaining 43 to get them there over the coming year. 91 elementary schools are official CS4All schools.

So what’s left for us to do during CS Ed Week? Quite a lot, as it happens. We’ll touch on two big events we have going on this week, one that we were excited to celebrate earlier this week and one lasting until January 6.

Family Night of Code @ Walt Disney Magnet | 12/5

Disney is an excellent example of a school doing CS right. Their leadership have pioneered the rollout of CS curriculum at a large elementary school (1600 students), have piloted a number of new curricula, and this week are working to share some of what they have accomplished. On December 5 from 4 PM to 7 PM, Disney hosted MV GATE to prepare parents, teachers and tech companies from around the district to run a Family Night of Code as well as to bring CS home effectively. MV GATE is devoted to bringing parents into the world of CS alongside their students, and has been featured on the White House’s website as well as on the front page of the New York Times as a leader in CS education.

Code60+ | 12/5 to 1/6

The Hour of Code as a beginning. To guide students beyond an hour of code, we are proud to announce the launch of Code60+ in partnership with the Digital Youth Network, the City of Chicago, and DePaul University. Code60+ is a structured opportunity for students, parents, and teachers to further explore computer science concepts and earn badges on the Chicago City of Learning Program. Participants will have daily and weekly challenges to win Chromebooks by seeing who (individuals and schools) can complete the most hours of coding and CS education. Code60+ will run from December 5 through January 6. You can get going at ChicagoCodes.org, and tell us how you are participating with the hashtag #chicagocodes!

Where will our students go next? ‘The sky’s the limit!

Brenda Darden Wilkerson is the Sr. Manager for Computer Science and IT education at Chicago Public Schools. She leads the Computer Science for All initiative which will add computer science education to all Chicago Public Schools, K-12, building towards a CS graduation requirement within 5 years.

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