Effort will address shortage of qualified computer science teachers across Illinois
June 22, 2022 (CHICAGO) —The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)’s College of Education, in partnership with the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), are launching a second cohort of teachers into its Teaching Endorsement in Computer Science (CSTed) that will prepare more teachers to instruct on the subject.
With 80% of current jobs requiring some level of computing knowledge, high school graduates in Illinois are entering a workforce dominated by technology, yet many of these young people are not receiving the computing education they need in order to compete.
A shortage of trained computer science teachers is the No. 1 reason more of these courses are not offered — a problem that is dire in rural areas — which was highlighted last year in the state’s first statewide landscape report on computer science education in K-12 public schools.
“Illinois has struggled to implement high quality and equitable CS education across the state in large part because of the lack of teachers equipped to teach CS,” said James D. Anderson, dean of the College of Education at UIUC. “With more teachers taking part in the endorsement, we will build the capacity for more schools across Illinois to effectively teach CS and inspire the next generation of innovators.”
This cohort-based, online program lasts five semesters with an optional capstone course and meets the Illinois State Board of Education’s credit requirement for obtaining a teaching endorsement in CS. Last year’s cohort included 24 teachers who are expected to complete the endorsement later this year. This year the program will add 36 teachers and represent school districts across Illinois.
The program also includes a partnership with Chicago Public Schools, Rich Township High School District 227, and other school districts that have helped to identify and recruit teachers.
The first course on computer programming and the CS classroom began June 13.
DPI’s Community Education Unit, which is part of the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs, will provide ongoing support to teachers through the creation of a peer mentoring network and ongoing professional development to support the implementation of CS in the classroom.
Last year Governor Pritzker signed HB2170 into law, which will require school districts to offer at least one CS course by 2022-23. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) also recently approved statewide standards for computer science later this year. This new endorsement will help prepare districts to meet these standards and requirements.
“Increasing the number and quality of CS teachers is one of the strongest ways we can address the disparities and inequities that exist for CS education in Illinois,” said Charity Freeman, associate director of teacher training. “During the next five to 10 years, we aim to endorse hundreds of teachers in CS and support hundreds more through ongoing professional learning activities so that every Illinois high school has a qualified CS teacher.”
Interested candidates can learn more here, are encouraged to complete an interest form, or contact DPI’s Associate Director of Teacher Training, Charity Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org), for more information.
About College of Education at Illinois
Founded in 1905, the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is one of the first land-grant schools of education, revered for its groundbreaking research, preparation of educator-leaders, and worldwide impact. U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks the College and its programs among the nation’s best. Home of the late Dr. Samuel Kirk, the “father of special education,” more than 70 tenure-track faculty, nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online students, and over 36,000 proud alumni — Great Minds Think Illinois.
The Discovery Partners Institute empowers people to jumpstart their tech careers or companies in Chicago. Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, it does three things: Train people for high-demand tech jobs; conduct applied R&D; and support Chicago’s tech community. With state investment and a new innovation district in development, DPI has the resources to attract, develop, and leverage the most ambitious people and companies the region has to offer — and keep them here.