How to pave computer science pathways in rural schools

'Students will be provided with computer coding training that would not be possible otherwise'
By: | February 19, 2021
The CS4NorCal computer science initiative should better prepare students in six rural California counties to compete for college and career opportunities. (AdobeStock/Daisy Daisy)The CS4NorCal computer science initiative should better prepare students in six rural California counties to compete for college and career opportunities. (AdobeStock/Daisy Daisy)

Computer science pathways are coming to some of California’s most rural schools as part of a five-year research and innovation project educators hope to replicate in other small districts.

CS4NorCal, launched this week by the California Small School Districts’ Association, begins with training 260 educators to teach a computer science curriculum, beginning in the earliest grades.

A key goal of the program is to better prepare students in six rural counties—Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta and Siskiyou—to compete for college and career opportunities, says Tim Taylor, executive director of Small School Districts Association.

Educators leaders from county offices of education, districts and schools will experiment with different models of adopting the 2018 state computer science standards.


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Schools will receive no-cost or low-cost standards-aligned computer science curriculum.

The districts’ community partners, meanwhile, will integrate computer science pathways into college preparation and workforce development initiatives.

The Sacramento County Office of Education will guide local planning teams in designing professional learning and school implementation models. Researchers from the University of California at Davis will evaluate the process so it can be adjusted and replicated in other rural communities.

Educators will participate in up to three years of professional development and form a regional computer science community of practice.

“Through this program our teachers and students will be provided with computer coding training that would not be possible otherwise,” says Mike Martin, county superintendent for Modoc County Office of Education.


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