Mar 5, 2019 | La Jolla, Calif.
Across the United States, qualified computer science teachers are hard to come by. In fact, Georgia only had 93 teachers certified to teach computer science (CS) in the 2017-18 academic year.
To help address this critical shortage, a delegation of Georgia educators, researchers, and leaders recently traveled to La Jolla, Calif., for the 2019 SCRIPT Symposium hosted by CSforALL. The Georgia delegation joined more than 150 participants from 13 states in January for the Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool (SCRIPT) workshop.
During the two-day event, which featured collaborative goal-setting, visioning, and self-assessment exercises, attendees learned about the SCRIPT framework and how to use it to develop, implement, and expand rigorous, sustainable, and inclusive K-12 CS education pathways in their respective school systems.
“Georgia has participated in SCRIPT training several times to great success,” said Bryan Cox, computer science specialist at the Georgia Department of Education (DOE). “This training has supported several districts in Georgia create district-level plans for computer science. Two rural districts previously had no computer science in their school systems and now have CS experiences at all three levels, with one offering its first Advanced Placement class in AP Computer Science Principles.”
Cox said that another rural district is fast becoming a model for CS implementation for small communities, and districts with small and large school systems alike have used SCRIPT training and subsequent momentum to expand CS tremendously.
As an expert in building equitable curriculum and programs, Lien Diaz, director of educational innovation and leadership at the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech was invited to participate in a panel discussion. Before and after the session, Diaz answered questions and provided feedback to attendees on their programs or issues that they are having in starting a CS program.
“I have much admiration for the district leaders attending the symposium who are willing to take action to prioritize computer science education. In many cases they are the lone pioneers in their city or school district but are paving the way for others to follow,” said Diaz.
Along with panel discussions, the symposium offered participants networking opportunities with representatives from industry, curriculum providers, philanthropies, and after school programs.
Errika More, executive director of TAG-Ed, and Khurran “Ko” Hassan, CS4GA facilitator were also part of the Georgia delegation that will use the CS SCRIPT training to help school districts across the state to implement the process. In addition to outreach, the Georgia DOE and CS4GA will be partnering to determine the best way to conduct regional training sessions for Georgia districts interested in learning how to improve their computer science education efforts.