TX and NH events propel state-level computer science education agendas, with ECEP support

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Texas and New Hampshire are making strides toward broadening participation in K-16 computing in their states and recently hosted gatherings focused on closing the computer science opportunity gap. Both states brought together diverse groups of stakeholders to forward state-level educational policy reform and consider strategies to ensure that every student has access to high quality computer science education.

Texas held a CS4TX Statewide Meeting in conjunction with the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. They convened advocates for CS education with the goal of connecting K-12, higher education, and CS professional partners to broaden and diversify CS education opportunities for all students in Texas.
The three-hour event, partially funded through a mini-grant from ECEP, was held on Oct. 19, 2016. Carol Fletcher, Deputy Director of the Center for STEM Education at UT Austin led a panel discussion with Ruthe Farmer, Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion at the White House, Katie Hendrickson, Advocacy and Policy Manager at Code.org, Hal Speed, founder of CS4TX, and Richard Tapia, Director of the Tapia Center for Excellence & Equity. The event culminated with small working groups on policy, student services, teacher education and higher education.
Read more about the event on their website, weteachcs.org.
In New Hampshire, more than 100 teachers, administrators, government leaders and representatives from the Department of Education gathered for the inaugural CS4NH Summit, a day-long event at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Virginia Barry, NH Commissioner of Education, welcomed guests and provided an overview of the state of computer science and STEM education in the state. A keynote address by Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer at Code.org, discussed computer science education efforts across the nation, focusing on equity in CS and tools for teachers and schools. New Hampshire summit organizers utilized the ECEP Experts Bureau to bring Mr. Youngpradit to the event. The ECEP Experts Bureau is a collection of CS education experts across the US, funded by ECEP, to bolster state-level CS advocacy and policy efforts.   
The summit, held Nov. 5, offered participants the opportunity to engage with an impressive number of hands-on workshops ranging from computer science basics, to exploring mobile apps, to experimenting with a virtual reality system. ECEP Alliance Manager, Sarah Dunton, worked closely with the NH ECEP leadership team on agenda development and alignment of the goals with the overarching goals of ECEP. Mark Guzdial, ECEP PI, served on the experts panel, outlining ECEP’s four-step model of state change and connecting this framework to the momentum in New Hampshire.
To learn more, read about the event on the UNH blogcs4nh.org, and the Concord Monitor.