Pathways for K-12 Computer Science Education in Illinois (CSEd Pathways)

Luc Paquette, Curriculum & Instruction, UIUC
Craig Zilles, Computer Science, UIUC
Raya Hegeman-Davis, Bureau of Educational Research, UIUC

Industry Partners: Computer Science Teachers Association, Google, Chicago Public Schools, Learning Technology Center of Illinois, CS4IL

Abstract: 
Computer science drives innovation and job growth, both nationally and globally, and is among the most in-demand college degrees. Computing is used in virtually every field, making it foundational knowledge all students need. Despite a growing push for increased CS knowledge in all K-12 grades, there are currently no pre-service, undergraduate programs offering an initial teaching license in CS education in the State of Illinois. This puts Illinois students, particularly those in districts struggling to close the achievement gap, at risk of not being competitive for admission to computer science related programs and being unprepared to succeed and earn these degrees, compared to their peers from other states and nations. Resolving this situation is a complex and multi-faceted “Grand Challenge” for Illinois requiring a long term, comprehensive, statewide strategy that needs to start now!

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a new partnership (I-STECS) between the College of Education and Department of Computer Science was inaugurated in Spring 2018 toward expanding the number of well-prepared high school CS teachers, aiming to create a new undergraduate program in CS education leading to licensure and a pathway to endorsement in CS for current teachers. This DPI-supported CSEd Pathways project will build on and expand this initiative and contribute to the DPI mission by working toward: building statewide collaborative partnerships around computer science education including corporations, community colleges, foundations, non-profits, and Chicago Public Schools; facilitating implementation of I-STECS in Chicago; and building an on-ramp for existing Chicago teachers through a summer professional development workshop for in-service teachers at DPI (to be held in August 2019).