UTeach Computer Science and UTeachNation Celebrate CSEdWeek
This week, UTeach Computer Science joined thousands of organizations in advocating for K–12 computer science (CS). Celebrated annually in December, CSEdWeek highlights the importance of CS for classrooms and the workforce worldwide. The White House kicked off CSEdWeek with a press release highlighting UTeach’s work, among that of other organizations, in advancing President Obama’s CS for All initiative over the past year.
Since the President’s call to action in January, UTeach’s high school curriculum, UTeach CS Principles, was endorsed by the College Board and began its inaugural year being offered in about 300 classrooms. Designed as a much broader, more conceptual introduction to CS than the College Board’s other AP CS course, which focuses on programming in Java, AP CS Principles is intended to improve engagement among young women and students from other groups historically underrepresented in CS.
Rebecca Nguyen—a mathematics graduate of UTeach’s partner program, GeauxTeach, at Louisiana State—teaches at Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. Like many teachers, Rebecca felt unprepared to teach CS before CS Principles. But, she says, “My background in mathematics has made the transition to teaching CS a smooth one."
She also has taken UTeach’s equity imperative to heart: “I have gone out of my way to inform freshmen and sophomore girls, in particular, about the opportunities that CS education can offer them. I myself may have pursued a degree in CS had someone done the same for me when I was in high school.”
This year, to celebrate CSEdWeek, Rebecca’s UTeach CS Principles students reached out to students in Grades 2–6 to engage them in CS activities through Hour of Code.
Another UTeach CS Principles teacher, Chris Carter, who teaches at Concordia International School in Shanghai, says, “Please know that UTeach [CS Principles] is an incredible program. Without it, we could not have been as successful in rolling out AP CSP… I was just pointing out to my principal why we need to make this course for sophomores. We have a Big Data course for upperclassmen, AP CS A, AP Chem, and Digital Literacy & Production. Every one of these courses is better served by kids having first taken AP CSP. I think I sold him on it after describing the truly impressive support that I am receiving from the UTeach program. I love the camaraderie.”
Chris shared his students’ enthusiasm for the course with a video for CSEdWeek.
UTeach Computer Science is now accepting applications for more than 20 face-to-face and online professional learning workshops in Summer 2017. Visit uteachcs.org to learn more!