Computer Science

200-Plus Organizations Support CSforAll at White House Summit

The White House hosted a summit yesterday celebrating Computer Science for All (CSforAll), an initiative that aims to equip all K–12 students with programming and computational thinking skills. At the summit, speakers highlighted achievements and momentum in President Obama’s initiative and announced new commitments to expand computer science (CS) education.

First, more than 200 organizations in the private-sector announced new commitments. These commitments follow more than 100 organizations that already pledged close to $250 million in philanthropic support, according to a White House statement. To name a few, The Iron Yard and Code Fellows, two coding bootcamps, worked with Operation Hope to launch a $45 million diversity scholarship fund last week. Additionally, Oracle is hosting 40 training events for about 600 teachers.

College Board also announced the launch of the new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course. The course introduces foundational programming concepts and seeks to equip students with skills to become future leaders in STEM fields. This fall, more than 2,000 schools in 49 states are offering the course to an estimated 25,000 students, making it the largest AP course launch ever for the program. To prepare for the launch, College Board trained approximately 1,400 teachers in 70 summer institutes held across the country. Additionally, more than 30 one-day workshops will be offered throughout the school year.

Lien Diaz, who lead the effort, explained that the new course is about access and equity. “AP Computer Science Principles is designed to engage many more students, especially women and students of color who are traditionally underrepresented in computer science,” Diaz said at the summit.  

AP CSP was created in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), which also made several announcements at the summit. NSF is providing more than $25 million in new grants to expand CS education. The grants will be issued by the end of this month for FY 2016, and will go toward training teachers, conducting research and more.

Aiming to build a movement, nonprofit CSNYC launched the CSforAll Consortium, a national network of CS education providers, school funders and researchers working to expand access to CS education for all K–12 students. The website connects members and “will serve as a hub for families, schools and districts looking for resources that match their needs,” according to a press release.

“How we get our work done is by building a community, and that community is inclusive of everyone who might have any kind of stake in CS,” said Michael Preston, executive director of CSNYC. “We can’t do it alone. We’re building a movement and community in New York, and what better way to give back to this community than to take on this new project.” 

Full coverage of the Computer Science for All summit will be available soon on the White House site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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