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Expanding Computer Science Education with CodeVA

Every Virginia child has a fundamental right to computer literacy. That has been CodeVA’s founding principle since its formation in 2013. Today, with the help from the National Science Foundation’s CSforAll program grant, that mission is becoming closer to reality.

Currently, many school districts in Virginia offer computer science classes through their career and technical education programs. However, many teachers lack the expertise to instruct more complex courses. As computer literacy is a key part of practically every sector of modern society, ensuring Virginia students have a strong understanding is increasingly important.

In its latest effort to address the issue, CodeVA put together “Equipping for Praxis: Advancing Computer Science Teachers Through Endorsement.” The proposal aims to create a professional development program for teachers in the field.

In response to the proposal, the National Science Foundation committed a three-year, $999,968 grant. CodeVA will utilize the grant, in addition to the two other research grants it has received, to educate Virginia teachers from a variety of skills and backgrounds by collaborating with James Madison University and Virginia public school teachers.

The project will design personalized professional development that will effectively train educators on computer science. It also intends to increase the number of skilled computer science teachers at high schools with underserved student populations. Inclusivity is a major emphasis in its initiative. Expanding computer science education to underprivileged students will open doors to computer science related industries, providing opportunities to jobs they otherwise may not be qualified to pursue.

The organizations will spend the first year developing the program, taking into account current knowledge of the educators and designing specialized pathways. The first phase will offer a hybrid of asynchronous and synchronous virtual learning courses intended to prepare teachers to pass the Computer Science Praxis test. The second phase will allow educators to deepen their knowledge in more technical content and skills as they pursue a computer science endorsement on their teaching license.

The Equipping for Praxis program is just one of the many initiatives CodeVA offers. If you are interested in learning more about the project, click here. If you want to learn more about CodeVA, you can visit its website and follow CodeVA on social media. If you are interested in supporting its cause, consider donating or volunteering.

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