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Computer Science Teacher Training Initiative

A significant driver behind the disparities in computer science education is the need for qualified instructors. Over the next 5-10 years, we aim to endorse hundreds of teachers in computer science and support hundreds more through ongoing professional learning activities so that every Illinois high school is equipped with a qualified CS teacher.

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Illinois is behind:

  • Today, there is no pathway to licensure for prospective CS teachers, and most of the state’s CS teachers do not have any formal endorsement or certification in CS education and have never taken a college-level CS course.
  • Only 15% of the more than 1,000 high schools in Illinois offer AP CS courses, largely because of a shortage of CS instructors.
  • Illinois is expected to officially establish statewide CS learning standards in 2021, but many school districts will struggle to implement them without support in training and endorsing teachers in CS.

We urgently need to address the disparities that exist in CS education in Illinois, which, make no mistake, is a social justice issue. And we need to start with the quality, delivery, and accessibility of K-12 computer science instruction in Illinois.

Our Plan

We are partnering with the College of Education at UIUC, Chicago Public Schools, other universities, nonprofits, and companies to improve the way computer science is taught in Illinois.

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Professional Development

DPI offers professional development workshops for educators that focus on current gaps in existing PD offerings, such as AR/VR, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Game Programming and Design, and Text-Based Programming.

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Undergraduate Teacher Licensure

It is critical for teacher preparation programs in the state to produce dedicated CS teachers. In partnership with UIUC’s College of Education, a pre-service, undergraduate licensure will be developed and vetted by the State Board of Education.

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CS Course Expansion

Working with statewide policymakers, school administrators, and educators, we will expand the number of schools offering computer science courses and more advanced courses (including Advanced Placement CS A and CS Principles).

CME Group Foundation

With funding from the CME Group Foundation, our partners at UIUC’s College of Education are conducting a comprehensive study to collect data on computing education at all grade levels from kindergarten through community college in Illinois.

The report will uncover data points like what CS courses currently exist, who teaches them and their backgrounds, and where there are disparities. Report findings will establish a baseline for our goals and will be used to inform needed program activities. We expect the report to be complete by Summer 2021.