As a STEM advocate I attended a Code.org training eager to learn more about Computer Science in Schools. I blogged about it on my personal digital mission called Plug Institute.
At this event I learned that Code.org is a free program with a free curriculum and teacher resources. This meant that it will not deplete our existing town education budget that is already struggling from what I can gather. As a concerned parent of two students in the school system I did the 7 hour training and I was blown away by the content. It made absolutely no sense that this program was not being used in all schools! We had maybe eight people in attendance that day and were told Simsbury is the only school who did the training for all or most of their teachers.
From this it was clear that that we do not have a STEM problem in our schools but rather a Computer Science problem.
"Computer Science is not vocational but foundational to STEM. "
Computer science is not about learning technology, it is about logic, problem solving and creativity.
On the code.org website on the promote tab there is a great interactive map halfway down. Click on Connecticut on the map and it will show that in Connecticut on average we have 5,300 open computing jobs. On a yearly basis we only have 533 computer science graduates. This alone should be concern for any parents especially parents working in technology such as myself. As you can see we are only meeting 10% of the need. Follow the link to see the CS fact sheet for Connecticut to read more. Then follow the take action link to send an email to our senators right from their website! This is important for the future of every child in this state.
I understand that the problem of computer science goes beyond the school curriculum, the teachers, and the school district, all the way back to the department of education and legislature. Some states are already preparing for the next century (1) requiring CS as a high school graduation policy and (2) with state funding allocated specifically to K-12 computer science. In Connecticut it looks like we are working on establishing state level standard as seen on the ct.gov website and with a current Bill 1129 an act concerning initiative to promote CS in Education . Frankly I cannot see how anything is truly implemented until CS is a graduation requirement and we get CS funding in schools. So until then what can we as parents do?
The following week I met with the Intermediate School principle and started planning a teachers training for Suffield K-5 teachers.
Code.org has partnership with Sacred heart university reimbursing them to pay their course facilitators and the lunch for 20+ teachers attending. They do however make a loss paying out of pocket if we do not have 20+ teachers attending, so it is crucial that we get enough people attend.
I have organized a workshop for Wed, Jun 19 from 8:30-4:30pm in the Middle School Media Center. This class will be run by Chinma Uche a math and computer science teacher at the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor. She is also involved with bill 1129 so it is worth Connecting with on Linkedin.
As parents you can help by:
1) Emailing and encouraging your current classroom teacher to attend this workshop to benefit the next group of students. Download the pdf below and upload it to the email and also include the eventbrite link http://bit.ly/SuffieldCodeK5 .
2) You can also help by forwarding this the post below into your Suffield Class Facebook Groups.
Suffield Class of 2026
Suffield Class of 2027 -
Suffield Class of 2028
Suffield Class of 2029
Suffield Class of 2030
Suffield Class of 2031
Suffield Class of 2032
Thank you for being an advocate for CS and STEM in our schools.