It can seem like a daunting task for school districts to try and implement an entirely new subject in their curriculum. And at a time when 90% of parents would like their children to learn computer science, just 40% of schools actually teach it.
For thousands of schools, that changed this summer.
For the third year in a row, we invited middle and high school teachers from across the country to become computer science teachers and join the fastest growing movement in education.
Our year-long Professional Learning Program kicks off with a one-week summer workshop — over 3,000 teachers attended a local workshop in their region and 1,000 teachers from our new regions joined us at our TeacherCons in Atlanta and Phoenix. Schools from Mississippi to Montana and Hawaii to Maine joined our national workshop.
In five jam-packed days, teachers from all subject areas — math, history, English — come together to study the curriculum and lessons their students will be learning in the upcoming school year while also tackling important topics like equity, recruitment, and teaching practices. They don’t learn everything about teaching computer science in just one week, and they’re not supposed to. Teachers continue to learn alongside their students and also attend four follow-up workshops throughout the year.
One CS Principles teacher said of her time at TeacherCon, “Thank you so so so so much. I am truly touched — to tears, on the clearly made investments in our students and us teachers all across the nation. The enjoyable time, the appropriateness, and relevance of the entire week has made all the difference in the investments given to students going forward.”
She’s not the only teacher who enjoyed their time — 96% of TeacherCon attendees report “This was the absolute best professional development ever!”
One of the best parts — and our favorite — is the community of teachers. They’re not just educators; they’re painters, hula dancers, jugglers, and singers. They wear so many hats and possess weird hidden talents. We’re inspired by all the teachers who took the leap to learn a new subject. Many tell us that they didn’t have the opportunity to study CS themselves, so they’re energized by the chance to make this accessible to their own students.
Over 4,000 middle and high school teachers (and another 6,000 elementary school teachers) will begin teaching computer science and bring the skills they learned this summer at local workshops and TeacherCon back to their classrooms. These teachers will reach over 500,000 students just in the 2018–19 school year alone, a HUGE head-start in giving every student the opportunity to learn.
Do you know a teacher or school that would be interested in joining our professional learning program next year? We offer 1-day elementary school workshops year round. Or, join our interest list and we’ll let you know as soon as applications for our middle or high school program open in your area.
Sarah Fairweather, Code.org Education Team Program Manager
TeacherCon would not be possible without the generous support of our donors, especially Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Infosys Foundation, and so many more. Thank you.