We are partnering with the College of Education at UIUC, Chicago Public Schools, other universities, nonprofit organizations, and corporate companies to improve the way computer science is taught in Illinois.
In Summer 2021, UIUC’s College of Education and the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) launched the first cohort of the Teaching Endorsement in Computer Science (CSTed) — a five-semester curriculum sequence that meets ISBE’s credit requirement for obtaining a subsequent teaching endorsement in computer science.
DPI designs and facilitates professional development opportunities, for K-12 educators and administrators alike, with focused workshops on Mobile App Development, Digital Literacy, Esports, Human Centered-Design, and more! Inquire about new opportunities.
In partnership with leading K-12 computer science educators from throughout the state, DPI will launch this website to provide a space for K-12 CS educators to view and share curated resources that support teaching and learning CS, collaborate and engage with a community of CS educators, and reflect on their teaching practices and outcomes.
DPI’s Pritzker Tech Talent Labs’ Community Education Unit creates programming for K-14 students and computer science teachers to develop skills and pathways into computing and tech-related fields.
Our goal is simple: to significantly increase the number of Black, Latinx, female, and other underrepresented populations pursuing and completing degrees and certificates in computer science, data science, and related fields of study at Illinois institutions.
We design programs to help students build tech skills and competencies, foster a sense of belonging in the tech world, and create a smoother pathway to guide historically underrepresented groups into technology careers. We recognize that this work cannot exist in a bubble; we partner with school districts, universities, community colleges and tech companies to ensure that our pipeline is robust, our curriculums are relevant, and our outcomes are meaningful.
A significant driver behind the disparities in computer science education is the need for qualified instructors.
Thus, a foremost strategy to increase student access, participation, and engagement in CS learning and career opportunities is through building teacher capacity.
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.
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.
With funding from the CME Group Foundation, our partners at UIUC’s College of Education conducted a comprehensive study among K-12 teachers and school and district-level administrators throughout the state on computing education.
The report uncovered data points including current CS course offerings, teachers’ qualifications, disparities in access to CS education, and perceived barriers to providing CS courses in Illinois schools. The research team, led by Dr. Raya Hegeman-Davis, notes that educators and administrators indicated the lack of trained CS teachers and the need for funding to train in-service teachers as the greatest barriers to offering CS courses in their schools.
This landscape report also highlighted the critical need for teacher certification programs, including both pre-service and in-service endorsement programs, as well as funding support for professional development for current teachers, especially in rural school districts. These and other findings establish a baseline for DPI’s goals and will be used to inform the necessity, relevance, and trajectory of our teacher-focused programming activities and funding initiatives.