By elevating computer science to a core subject, CPS is providing students with the skills they need for success in a tech-driven economy.
Beginning this fall, 46 schools will pilot the District’s Computer Science for All (CSA) plan - a curriculum that will give elementary school students access to foundational computer skills while expanding computer science classes to every CPS high school. The District will partner with Code.org, Google, and other technology leaders to increase the quality of computer science and coding classes, and will work with Chicago City of Learning to provide access to these educational opportunities inside and outside the classroom.
“By expanding access to computer science skills and coding in schools, we can help prepare Chicago’s students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in a highly-specialized, technical economy,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Teaching our kids the foundation skills of computer science and coding will not only open up the door to success in virtually any industry, but will position them as the next generation of innovators that will move our city forward.”
Approximately one-fourth of Chicago’s jobs are in STEM-focused fields, yet fewer than 3 percent of college students now graduate with a degree in computer science. CPS hopes to alter this trend by expanding technology programming for students as young as kindergarten and requiring that computer science be a graduation requirement for all high school students.
“The earlier we have students learning the language of a computer, the more prepared they will be for the opportunities that await them once they leave school,” said Alan Mather, principal at Lindblom Math and Science Academy.
One of 21 high schools that will pilot the CSA program, Lindblom will now be providing computer science classes to students in grades 7-12, and will partner with nearby Henderson Elementary, also a pilot school. to expand these courses to students in third and fourth grade.
“Our economy needs people who are skilled in computer science and technology,” said Principal Mather. “By preparing our students to fill these roles, we are establishing Chicago as a leader in getting students to look forward and embrace the professions that can change the trajectory of their lives.”
The most comprehensive K-12 computer science education program of any major school district in the country, the CSA program builds off CPS’ current course offerings in computer science, which have already served more than 9,000 high school students over the past four years. For more information on the program, including a complete list of participating schools, click here.