ECEP Alliance Hosts First-Ever Virtual Summit: ECEP Connectby: Cydny BlackPublished: Oct. 6, 2023 UncategorizedDedicated to our mission of broadening participation in computing, the ECEP Alliance hosted our inaugural ECEP Connect Virtual Summit on September 27, 2023, to provide all states with the opportunity to leverage ECEP resources and its network of state and national leaders in computer science education.Our virtual event drew more than 100 attendees, representing 41 US states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and international participants interested in increasing the number and diversity of students in K-12 computing and computer science education. The virtual summit was open to non-member states and showcased the resources, networking opportunities, and best practices available through the Alliance. “We receive a lot of requests for coaching and resources. ECEP Connect is a way to reach more leaders seeking to broaden participation in K-12 computer science education. The high attendance at our first-ever event is a testament to the need for resources that empower states to utilize data, assemble diverse teams, secure essential funding, and advocate for sustainable change. There’s a surge in demand for what we offer as an alliance, and in line with our theme, we want to plug people into ECEP’s network to energize collective action” said ECEP Alliance Director and Co-PI, Sarah Dunton. In line with the event’s theme of plugging into CS policy, practices, and pathways, the summit offered sessions connected to the ECEP’s “How to Change a State” model. Participants were able to walk away with strategies that focused on developing diverse state teams, planning state CS education summits, creating equity guides, and learning how to incorporate identity work into all levels of state change.Reflecting on the value of the event, Dr. Stephen King, Education Program Consultant at the Kansas Department of Education, shared: “The idea of a landscape study for a state with over half a million public school students and 286 districts with a great deal of local control seems nearly impossible at first. Thus, it has been a great relief finding an organization willing to assist in this effort, and I look forward to further work with ECEP.”Representatives from the National Science Foundation, Google, Kapor Center, Microsoft, Code.org, CS4All, and the Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA) hosted partner sessions designed to help participants make connections and build a deeper toolbox of resources.“We believe that every student should have access to the collaborative, coding, and technical skills that can unlock opportunities in the classroom and beyond,” said Shawdee Monroe, Google’s Tech Education Outreach. “State leaders need access to the tools and resources necessary to help them shape the future of computer science education. This summit did just that, while also leaning into community building and knowledge sharing. Google is honored to partner with organizations like ECEP, who advocate for the expansion of equitable computer science education to students across the nation.”All states are invited to engage with ECEP’s tools, research, and team of experts at the local, state, and national level. Our resources are available on ECEP’s website. Coaching sessions can be scheduled by completing this form. ECEP intends to host this event on an annual basis.