Creation of CS Principles course for our district - SY1920


#1

Hello All,

I see lots of information on this board and was hoping for some advice on how we should present our class proposal to our board of education members along with how I can best leverage my resources (training and hardware) to be successful.

The main reason for my post is to get some ideas of how to pitch this - and some preliminary numbers of cost to our board.

Looking forward to your comments and words of wisdom!

Thanks
Erik


#4

@ebrillon,
Congratulations on making the decision to implement Computer Science. There is a website designed by code.org dedicated to Advocacy, Pitches, and implementation. Visit Code’s Advocacy Site and you’ll find a wealth of resources. In addition, there is CS data for each state that explains: how many unfilled jobs exist, the amount of funding available and the number of students currently taking CS. Send me an email at terence.stone25@gmail.com and a share a link with a few pitches from one of our workshops this past summer that may also help.


#5

That advocacy page is very useful!

I was browsing through all the states and it seems most were more than 3x the “state average demand rate”. My math brain feels like something is wrong here, if we’re talking averages across all states, shouldn’t some states be below average or am I misunderstanding what that metric is stating?


#6

@james.huval

Good question about the “average demand” thing. I took that to mean 3x the average demand of other jobs… I think that is something you could certainly ask about though. What state are you in? Do you have a regional partner who might have a better understanding of the “local” landscape? That might be a good place to start!

In terms of your original question, in my experience my school was eager to offer computer science - I think the advocacy page presents all the stats you really need! it is kinda a no-brainer for most districts, especially if they have someone like you who WANTS to do it. I think the costs are the only hang-up. SO… with that in mind, here are the costs I can foresee:

  • Technology - specifically something to DO coding on. If you don’t have a lab, I would recommend getting a set of chromeoboks. My students use chrome books every day and I have access to laptops but the chromebooks are SO FAST! They are also easy on the school budget.

  • Training. Code.org is moving into a “sustainable” training policy. Have you already been trained? Then GREAT! If not, check with your regional partner to see if the training will cost anything next year. They are going to great lengths to make it still accessible to teachers, but you would want to present that cost too. Make sure you mention the on-going support during the school year too involved with that training.

In terms of the pitch, district people love buzzwords in my opinion. I would focus on the following:

  • STEAM - Computer science is a liberal art that connects ALL STEAM fields. It allows students to creatively problem solve and build skills that are transferrable to other content areas. (this is one of my favorite articles that talks about coding in biology)

  • College and career ready: As more and more jobs are being taken over by computers, we need people to program those computers. Also, programming can lead to good jobs that don’t necessarily require a degree.

  • Computational thinking - it isn’t just about programming though, this course teaches students how to think computationally. It isn’t that every student will be a programmer, BUT they do need to be able to think like a computer so that they can tell a programmer what they want a computer to do.

Those are my initial thoughts - let us know how it turns out! Good luck!!!


#7

@james.huval . One more thing - Hour of Code week is next week. Perhaps try to do an Hour of Code event with some students and then get “student testimonials” or even data from students who participate. I have done that before for my district. I have just given students a survey and asked them what they think about the event, you always get some gems out there!


#8

Thanks for the potential explanation regarding the averages! That’d make more sense. I’m in South Louisiana and Nicholls State University recently became Louisiana’s first regional partner (which I’m excited for them, good step in the right direction here).

ebrillon was the original OP on here, but I agree with your information none-the-less! ’

We’ve got coding (in some form or fashion) from PK-8. Hour of code did fantastic with the earlier grades the past couple of years and now they have plenty of hours of code! Our high school schedule doesn’t lend itself well to the typical hour-of-code but I’m trying out something that’s still in the spirit of it. We’ll see how it goes!


#9

James,

It’s all good! I enjoy seeing conversations taking off, no matter how it started.

Thanks for the info!
Erik