CA, NH, PR, and UT awarded minigrants

Friday, December 11, 2015

December 11, 2015 -  Four states received funding from ECEP to work toward bringing computer science education to underrepresented students through statewide activities.
 
In Puerto Rico, grant funds will support the translation of the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) curriculum into Spanish, implementation of the curriculum, and evaluation and validation of the developed curriculum. ECS is an introductory high school computer science course designed for students with little or no access to CS knowledge. Its assignments and instruction are contextualized to be socially relevant and meaningful for diverse students. The project will produce an ECS-Puerto Rico curriculum and resources that also will be effective in the Latino community the U.S., especially its growing Puerto Rican population. The project will be completed by approximately August 2016 and is led by Joseph Carroll-Miranda, assistant professor, College of Education, University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras.
 
Unlike many states, Utah has a tiered endorsement system for computer science teachers; yet few Utah teachers are teaching computer science. This results in low numbers of schools offering and students taking AP computer science—especially female students. With a minigrant from ECEP, Utah will support teachers to offer AP Computer Science Principles or Computer Science A in 2016-17. Leaders there will also work with higher education institutions and computer science departments to produce clear CS teacher endorsement pathways in colleges and universities and make sure students are aware of this option. In addition, with support from a Google Rise grant to Georgia Tech, Utah will become an extension site for the Sisters Rise Up 4 CS program, which partners with universities and colleges to offer tutoring and support to female students in AP CS A classes.  The project is led by Helen Hu, professor in computer science at Westminster College and will run through September 2016.
 
In California, the minigrant from ECEP will support a reexamination of the computer science education landscape within the state, updating the 2012 report, “In Need of Repair,” which detailed processes in the state for reform but only touched on student enrollment and demographic data on computing courses. This updated landscape report will identify regions in California currently with little or no CS education and will guide the direction of resources and professional development for teachers. Debra Richardson, professor in computer science at the University of California-Irvine and chair of the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS) will lead the development of the report, which will be completed by fall 2016.
 
New Hampshire also seeks a deeper understanding of its computing education landscape and will use an ECEP minigrant to produce a report as well as develop potential strategies and plan for implementation based on findings.  The report will build on recent STEM Pipeline Analysis and Pathways to STEM Excellence reports for New Hampshire. A statewide advisory committee comprised of representatives from K12 and higher education, industry, and state department of education will advise the effort through its completion by November 2016. The project will gather data on computing course offerings at career and technical centers, high schools, and community colleges and what content is most needed by New Hampshire business and industry. Rosabel Deloge, professional development coordinate with UNH, will manage the project.
 
In this third round of minigrants, five states and territories of the 10 eligible ECEP states submitted proposals in October 2015. Grants are up to $25,000 and aim to support statewide and systemic change, expansion of computing education pathways, and broadened participation.