Digital Literacy

Mississippi Creates Computer Science Pilot Program

Six school districts in coastal Mississippi have been chosen to participate in a state-sponsored computer science pilot program, according to the Biloxi-based Sun Herald.

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced Tuesday that Hancock, Harrison, George, Pass Christian, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula school districts will start training teachers for the program this summer. The program will be administered at K–5 schools and high schools in those districts beginning next year, the Sun Herald said.

The Computer Science for Mississippi (CS4MS) pilot program is designed to “expand the knowledge base of students and open the doors to career opportunities,” according to MDE.

Schools must feature a robust schedule of professional development, data gathering and adequate technology and infrastructure to qualify for the program, the Sun Herald said.

The program will include coding, digital literacy, keyboarding and robotics for elementary-age students, the paper said. High school students will enroll in a comprehensive course called Exploring Computer Science.

The MDE said the ultimate goal of CS4MS is to have a continuous K-12 computer science pipeline in place for all Mississippi public schools by the year 2024.

Mississippi has been notably slow to adopt computer literacy statewide, according to recent news reports. This program was created to address an urgent economic need, MDE said. According to Code.org, there are currently 607,708 open computing jobs nationwide, but only 42,969 computer science students graduated from U.S. schools and moved into the workforce last year.

“The CS4MS pilot program aims to address this computer science knowledge gap so that Mississippi’s students can compete for jobs alongside candidates from any other state or country,” MDE said in a prepared statement.  

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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