Dare To Dream

I believe the future of Computer Science education is bright. This bright future, however, requires leaders with vision and a continued focus on equity and advocacy. I have been fortunate to work with, and learn from, individuals with such leadership qualities. I remember attending a CSTA K-12 Equity Workshop in 2010 where the need for equity, not equality, was explained to me. I left that training believing that we, the CS community, can change education. A belief that has continued to guide my work. CS has continued to promote the discussion of equity and inclusion in the K-12 classroom, so much so that political leaders are beginning to see CS education as a means to close achievement gaps and address inequities in our society.  I would like to congratulate all the states and organizations that are leading the charge to bring CS to all students, through their commitments of time, effort and money.

CS education has been influential in many ways. CS has enhanced the introduction of new strategies and tools for engaging students in learning and empowering teachers to teach a diverse group of students.  I look at today’s teacher dashboards and the ways we monitor student learning in the CS classroom. Progress such as this causes me to continue to dream of the bright future ahead.  I can very easily manage a diverse group of students in my classroom, where students are working on different activities, because of the resources curriculum providers have made available to us. CS had led to the empowering of teachers and teachers further embrace the concept of lifelong learning. Designations such as Master Teacher, Lead Learner, etc. are now common in our community. Additionally, students now explore CS at their leisure via online resources.  We are evolving to a place where both teachers and students feel empowered, and I believe there will be future structures that encourage both through either a redefinition of the teacher or different modes of online resources.  New models of professional development and skills assessment could also be used to provide teachers more ways to facilitate learning.

I dare to dream of a future where models of student learning and teacher PD developed in the CS classroom affect teaching and learning in all subject areas. Such models of PD would allow teachers to continue to grow, break barriers and be able to meet the needs of a diverse student body.  I dare to dream of school administrators embracing CS, supporting teachers in their development, and using the positive experiences in the CS classroom to affect school culture. To the administrators who are already living this, the CS community thanks you.

In summary, I dare to dream of the boundless progress of CS education. I dare to dream of a future where all students are taught CS. I dare to dream of a future where teacher PD is on demand and easily accessible. I dare to dream of a future where administrators are active contributors to the success of CS education. I dare to dream of a future where the educational system is transformed to benefit all people irrespective of their race, nationality, or area of residence. This future is possible with advances in CS and all the efforts to address the digital divide. Computer Science has the potential to transform all classrooms, students’ experiences, what it means to be a teacher or administrator, and has the ability to transform education and society as we know it.  The progress of the last ten years allows me to dream of a future where all students can realize their full potential. If the CS community continues to elevate ideas of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access, I see a future where this dream can materialize. #CSFORALL #DareToDream.

Chinma Uche 9-12 Representative

CS for All Means All Y’All

Right about now you should be thinking how great it is to be a K-12 CS educator.  If not, let me give you a few reasons.  How terrific it was to hear that President Donald Trump had re-purposed $200 million dollars at the US Department of Education to support STEM Education, including K-12 computer science education programs.  Women, minorities, and students in rural communities will particularly benefit from this presidential memorandum.  That’s exactly what we are talking about when we champion “CSforAll.”  And to sweeten the pot, a coalition of tech businesses including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, and many others agreed to give $300 million spread over the next five years to boost K-12 computer science programs.  So, it really is a great time to be a CS educator!

If you need more proof that it is a great time to be a CS educator, on October 16 and 17, over 170 organizations made new commitments to support CSforAll students.  These pledges were celebrated by a stakeholder community of educators and other supporters at the 2017 CSforAll Summit in St. Louis, Missouri.   You can view those commitments in this pdf Fact Sheet to see how many of our long-time friends and supporters are in the list and how many, many more you might not have known about.  CSTA made a commitment to continue to promote the new CSTA K-12 CS Standards broadly so that all states and school systems have rigorous models for their own standards and to work with 3-5 CSTA chapters to help them establish their CS program while developing state standards and supporting CS teachers.  Did you make a new commitment to support CSforAll students?  If not, why not do one now?  After all, it’s a great time to be a K-12 CS educator!

And, speaking of commitments, have you made a pledge for 2017 CS Education WeekCS Ed Week is December 4 – 10, 2017.  What a great time to champion CS education, celebrate Grace Hopper’s birthday (December 9), and introduce students to computer science.  It’s a great week for elementary/middle school educators to partner with high school students and educators to show the younger students how great CS is and to allow the older students to share their enthusiasm.  This year, CSTA is partnering with Family Code Night to encourage parents to join their children in coding at their local school—another great way to interest younger students in CS education.  Plan to participate in Family Code Night (or even better to help organize Family Code Night events in your community).  After all, it’s a great time to be a K-12 CS educator.  And, as we say in the south, All means All Y’all!

We know you are all doing spectacular work in your own schools, school systems, and CSTA chapters.  We look forward to reading about what you are doing to promote and bring CS education to all students.

Deborah Seehorn , CSTA Interim Executive Director