Chancellor Fariña Announces New Computer Science Education Initiative From Harlem To Hollis

March 10, 2016

Schools Chancellor Carmen FariñaChancellor Fariña today announced a new initiative to bring high-quality computer science (CS) education to over 150 elementary, middle, and high schools across the City for the 2016-17 school year. Through the Spring and Summer DOE STEM Institute “CS Track,” up to 400 teachers – in teams of two or three – will receive intensive training to implement rigorous, hands-on CS education in their schools.

Including the brand-new CS Track, the DOE STEM Institute is doubling in size and will train up to 800 total teachers to bring high-demand STEM subjects to over 300 schools for the 2016-17 school year. This work builds on a continuing commitment to high-quality STEM education, and the CS Track is part of the Computer Science for All commitment to provide computer science education for every student in elementary, middle, and high school by 2025. Earlier this year, the City announced the expansion of the Software Engineering Program and AP Computer Science Principles to over 50 additional schools for Fall 2016.

“The STEM Institute and the expansion of the Software Engineering Program and AP Computer Science Principles are critical steps in expanding STEM and making Computer Science for All a reality,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Learning with technology engages and excites our young people while teaching them literacy, design, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. I am delighted that more students – especially girls and black and Latino students, who have long been underrepresented in these fields – will have this opportunity.”

The STEM Institute is made possible with funding from GE Foundation; the CS Track is supported by CS4All funders, including CSNYC, AOL Charitable Foundation, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, and ABNY Foundation.

“STEM fields are the future of our country,” said Kelli Wells, Executive Director of Education and Skills for the GE Foundation. “We know that we are in the midst of a global revolution that is driven by STEM. To maintain a successful global economy, we must not only prepare our students, we must excite and engage them in the classroom. The DOE STEM Institute is a step in the right direction. Our support is designed to move DOE educators forward.”

“Creating more opportunities for our students to learn 21st-century skills ‎is crucial for our young people, our businesses and our City,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. “We’re proud to be taking the next step toward bringing Computer Science for All to all of our schools and building the tech workforce of tomorrow. We are grateful to all of our private partners for continuing to support this effort.”

At the three-day Spring and Summer STEM Institutes, which will take place in April and July, CS Track teachers will receive training in one of a range of CS topics, including:

  • For elementary school teachers, training to teach students basic coding, game design, how to build robots, and how to build interactive electronic projects using “Arduino” boards.
  • For middle school teachers, training to teach students a more sophisticated coding curriculum, how to build and program a driverless car, and how to design video games that incorporate algebra concepts.
  • For high school teachers, training to teach students how to make their own websites, build robots in math and science classes, use videogame and animation design in biology classes, develop computer simulations of climate change and ecosystems, and design and launch apps to solve a problem in their community.

Along with the STEM Institute CS Track, up to 400 teachers across over 150 schools will participate in the Spring STEM Institute “ST Track” in a range of fields, including engineering and design, sustainability, and health and wellness. The ST Track builds off of two previous STEM Institutes in Spring and Summer 2015, which were both attended by over 350 teachers. The projected cost of the effort is $1.7 million, about $500,000 of which comes from public funds. All teachers will receive continuing support from the DOE and external partner organizations as they plan and implement innovative instruction in their schools throughout the 2016-17 school year.

The STEM Institute CS Track is part of Computer Science for All, the City’s commitment to provide CS education to all students by 2025. The STEM Institute CS Track is designed to be an introduction to CS education for the participating teachers and schools, which may continue to offer rigorous CS education units and semester courses beyond 2016-17 or build their programs to facilitate full-year or multi-year courses.

This winter, the City released applications to add over 50 new middle and high-school programs for Fall 2016, an expansion of the Software Engineering Program and the AP Computer Science Principles course. The City has also begun working to offer new CS education in elementary schools and additional professional learning opportunities for educators citywide, and is engaging the CS education community in developing a document to guide instruction across the City. More details on application and registration opportunities around Computer Science for All will continue to be released directly to schools this spring.

More information on Computer Science for All and the 2016 Spring STEM Institute is available online.

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