Supporting our Black Employees, Partners, Students, and Teachers: Looking Back and Ahead

An update on our BEST plan: How Code.org is supporting our Black employees, students, and teachers

In June of 2020, when police brutality in the U.S. sparked global protests against racism, one of our first actions was a brainstorm with our entire team that led to a multi-year plan on how to support Black employees, students, and teachers (what we call our BEST plan). This led to some amazing ideas we put into action.

We are proud that the broader CS community now has much more transparent and robust data about intersectionality and participation of Black students of students as part of the State of CS. We were inspired to see millions of people share our “Change the Face of CS” video that featuring Black role models.

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In the past six months, we’ve focused on launching our new AP® CSA course. Our goal is to dramatically increase the participation of underrepresented groups and young women in this advanced programming course. Currently, these groups of students (and the intersection of race and gender) have some of the largest participation gaps in CS education. We have +300 teachers participating in our first professional learning for AP CS A this summer. And we will continue to report on how participation rates are changing from our new efforts. Building on this, we’ve also established a new partnership with the College Board where we will focus on our outreach and scholarships for teachers to go through professional development in schools with large populations of Black students.

While the CS community has made progress, it is clear that access and participation gaps with Black students continues to remain a significant equity issue within K-12 education. We’ve accomplished many of our goals over the past two years. However, our work isn’t done. We commit to continuing to learn and listen. Our initial list of ideas have now been deeply ingrained into our perspectives and day-to-day operations at Code.org. We plan to continue our reflections and brainstorming sessions and regularly check in on our BEST plan with our team. Our view is that Code.org’s work isn’t done until we reach balanced representation in K-12 computer science.

— The Code.org Team

Read our initial commitment to take action and our updates from January 2021, June 2021, and January 2022.

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