UCS among select Michigan districts receiving support for expanded computer science instruction
UCS teachers will receive professional development resources as part of its partnership with Code.org. UCS became the first Michigan district last year to establish a partnership with the national non-profit group.
The training will be provided by the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network, a regional resource center for educational materials and information that supports community involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“The expanded computer science opportunities reflect our district’s focus on developing innovation, critical and creative thinking and problem solving skills in our graduates,” said Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns. “These experiences will give our students a competitive edge for the top-paying jobs of the future.”
According to Code.org, there are more than 500,000 computer jobs available nationally and less than 43,000 computer science graduates. In Michigan alone, Code.org reports that there are 14,771 jobs available and only 1,612 graduates.
Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network will work with Code.org to provide the staff development resources for UCS and approximately 70 other districts.
State Superintendent Brian Whiston said: “Giving our students every advantage possible will help make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years. Preparing our educators and students with informed and structure content for computer science and coding is a major step in that direction.”
Examples of expanded secondary computer science instruction in UCS include a junior high school Computer Science Discoveries course and an Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles course.
The Computer Science Discoveries program will be piloted next year at three UCS junior high schools to allow students to explore introductory concepts of coding and computer science.
UCS is offering the AP Computer Science course as a pilot this year for approximately 50 students at Eisenhower High School. The course may be expanded to the remaining UCS high schools in 2017-2018.
The year-long AP course provides a foundation in areas such as programming, algorithms, digital privacy and the societal impact of computing.
In addition to the new courses, coding instruction is now being embedded in Algebra I courses taken by every secondary student.
At the elementary level, expanded computer science instruction includes integration of coding lessons through media centers, including units on algorithms, digital footprints, vocabulary strategies, problem solving and perseverance.