CS4NC Initiative: For Administrators
Expand Computer Science Opportunities To All Students In North Carolina K-12 Schools
In his January 2018 report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, NC Superintendent Mark Johnson kicked off the CS4NC Initiative with the overall goal to “provide opportunities for all North Carolina students to learn computer science and gain the skills needed to: (1) create and contribute, not just use and consume, in the digital economy; and (2) actively engage as informed citizens in our complex, technology-driven world. Through collaboration and communication with multiple stakeholders, a coordinated statewide computer science initiative will strengthen pathways from kindergarten to career, address equity gaps, leverage successful programs, and encourage cross-sector partnerships throughout the state.” The report outlines recommendations across three areas: Teacher, Curriculum, and Schools.
NC K-12 CS Standards
Currently open for public comment, the proposed NC K-12 Computer Science Standards were initially drafted by the CS Steering Committee (as part of the State Board of Education’s Special Committee on Digital Learning and Computer Science) in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State’s College of Education, and the Lt. Governor’s Office. During a presentation of the draft standards to the NC Board of Education in April of 2019, the Board approved adding Computer Science to the NC Standard Course of Study. The draft standards are now in the final stage of the review process after a year of cross-sector focus groups including teachers, school, district, and state administrators, and interested parties from outside of the K-12 education field. After a period of public comment, the final proposed standards will be presented to the NC Board of Education for approval. At which time, the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will develop implementation plans for the new standards.
Bring CS to Your School or District
While there are certainly pockets of success for expanding computer science to all students in a given school or district, most of these cases tend to be anecdotal and rely on a singular champion. The disparities in enrollments in computer science for girls and underrepresented minorities are not merely a coincidence but rather are the result of legacy stereotypes about the type of student who can succeed in computer science, the misconceptions of what computer science entails, and institutional policies and procedures that tend to restrict access to computing courses. In order to guarantee every student in North Carolina has the opportunity to learn computer science, there needs to be a systems approach to addressing the existing gaps. District and school leadership must embrace the challenge and support policies to ensure that computer science courses are offered in a manner which allows all students to explore computer science and provide the resources for teacher professional development and curriculum integration.
The SCRIPT — the Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool — is a framework to guide teams of district administrators, school leaders, and educators through a series of collaborative visioning, self-assessment and goal-setting exercises to create or expand upon a computer science education implementation plan for their students. School districts and other local education organizations are the unit of change toward creating rigorous, inclusive and sustainable K-12 computer science education. The SCRIPT supports systems-level change by addressing five key areas: (1) Leadership, (2) Teacher Capacity and Development, (3) Curriculum and Materials Selection and Refinement, (4) Partners, and (5) Community.
NCWIT is a non-profit community that convenes, equips, and unites change leader organizations to increase the influential and meaningful participation of girls and women — at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, and disability status — in the field of computing. Whether their schools already offer CS or are just getting started, one of the top priorities will be getting their teachers, school counselors and administrators the additional experience, knowledge and resources they need to be effective computer science instructors and advocates. In collaboration with other leaders in the field of broadening participation in computer science, NCWIT has developed a guide which offers four simple but thorough steps that education leaders can take to build CS capacity among their K-12 teachers, counselors