The Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network, which includes the NMU Seaborg Center, partnered with Code.org to send 100 Michigan teachers to professional learning opportunities in Phoenix and Philadelphia. The teachers attended the AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) Course and a 7th-9th grade CS Discoveries pipeline course. About seven U.P. teachers and one educator being trained as a facilitator for future cohorts were among the attendees.
"We are excited to increase the number of computer science opportunities for students in Michigan, and I hope these new courses will inspire students to consider this as an exciting career field,” said Chris Standerford, director of the Seaborg Center and Computer Science Task Force Chair for the network. “Middle and high school courses are being offered around the state as we start the new school year and more schools will be able to join next year. For the high school course, students in their sophomore year can already begin to take AP Computer Science Principles and therefore be working toward university-accepted credit hours. This is a great opportunity for Michigan.”
Along with the instruction, which came at no cost thanks to a generous grant from Code.org, teachers have full access to a complete online curriculum and associated assessments. Schools will be able to use these well-developed curriculum materials throughout the school year; again at no cost to teachers or school districts. Furthermore, the 100 Michigan teachers will be connected to a cohort for follow-up professional learning during the 2017-2018 school year. Airfare, hotel, and materials were compliments of Code.org, saving local school districts thousands of dollars in receiving this instruction.
The AP CSP course is projected to have the largest launch of any AP class in Michigan’s history during the 2017-18 school year. Due to the organizational skills and effort of the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network, Michigan led the nation with the greatest number of teachers involved at the Code.org Teacher Conference in Philadelphia this summer.
Michigan currently has 13,923 open computer science jobs, almost four times the state average field-specific demand rate. The CS Discoveries and AP CSP courses have the potential to help Michigan students become involved in computer science to meet the state’s demand for computer science careers. Furthermore, the Code.org curriculum has a focus on problem solving, algorithmic thinking, and communication, which is beneficial to any career and supports a well-informed, technologically-aware citizenry. The only prerequisite for high school student interested in taking AP CSP is Algebra I, a requirement for high school graduation in Michigan.
The Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network is also developing six computer science facilitators within the state. Next summer, there are plans to continue this great opportunity for even more Michigan teachers utilizing our home-grown facilitators. Schools can begin applying for next year’s opportunity in January, 2018.
This release was prepared by the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network and localized with additional material.