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Alabama Leading Expansion of Computer Science
June 22, 2015 | Comments
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Alabama teachers and trainers are spending time this summer to learn the Computer Science Principles, and taking what they learn back to their high schools this fall. The training is part of a series of online, hands-on, mentorship, and ongoing peer-to-peer training and support, in order to train high-school teachers in a new Computer Science course and future College Board Advanced Placement course. The “CS4Alabama” project is a National Science Foundation-sponsored project in collaboration with the University of Alabama and A+ College Ready.
 
Many recent high-school graduation speeches around the country encouraged graduates to “follow their dreams.” If any of them are dreaming of entering the computer science field – they will be among the most sought after college graduates by employers in the U.S.
 
According to a 2014 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers for its Job Outlook 2015 report, Computer Science degrees are among the top three Bachelors, and the 2nd most in-demand Masters-level degrees entering the job market.
 
"Not only will there continue to be a high demand for Computer Science in post-secondary education institutions and the job market, but Alabama aspires to have the best-prepared students coming out of high school to be successful in these areas," said Mary Boehm, president of A+ College Ready, a non-profit organization that works with ALSDE and UA to help expand Advanced Placement opportunities in Alabama.
 
To get students prepared for majors and careers in this field, the University of Alabama is partnering with A+ College Ready in leading an effort to increase opportunities to offer Computer Science (CS) Principles in Alabama high schools. And while conducting training for Alabama educators to lead this course successfully, UA  - thanks to a Google grant – is also opening access to its professional development nationally for its second year.
 
From June 22 through June 26 teachers from all parts of Alabama in the three cohorts of schools participating in the CS4Alabama CS Principles Course Pilot are attending a face-to-face session at the University of Alabama. The National Science Foundation funds this pilot project. The goal of the project is to provide year-long professional development and mentoring to 50 high school teachers over a three year period, enabling them to offer the course to a diverse group of students. The project is now in its third year.
 
"The Computer Science field is truly exploding," said Dr. Jeff Gray, UA professor and coordinator of the CS4Alabama initiative. “We are working with A+ College Ready and the Alabama State Department of Education to expand training and resources to more public high school teachers each year who can take what they learn back to their students – preparing them for success in computer science courses, as well as getting them excited about all the career opportunities open to them in this broad field.”
 
The curriculum has been adapted from a CS Principles Pilot course taught at the University since 2011, according to Gray.
 
The 50 Alabama teachers at this week’s training will also be attending a 6-week “MOOC,” (Massive Open Online Course), supported by a grant from the Google CS4HS program. The online course parallels the CS Principles professional development instruction of the "CS4Alabama" project. The online course has over 850 teachers from 47 states and 8 countries participating.
 
The College Board is developing CS Principles as a future Advanced Placement (AP) course that is expected to launch in Fall 2016 with an official exam in May 2017. CS Principles seeks to broaden the participation in computer science by providing an engaging and fun curriculum that showcases the diverse and exciting opportunities that are available in computer science.
 
As part of the CS4Alabama Project, eight Alabama Schools piloted the course in 2013-14 and 22 schools joined the pilot in the 2014-15 school year. This fall, 21 Alabama schools will join, offering Computer Science Principles courses for the first time.
 
“We are so encouraged that over 1,350 Alabama students have already pre-enrolled to take this course in the fall,” said Boehm. “More notably, over 300 of those students are African American and over 400 are female – traditionally two of the most under-represented groups in Computer Science classes. This collaborative work is a remarkably important investment in our state as it reaches more students interested in Computer Science studies, and prepares them to successfully fill a high-demand career field.”
 
Schools adding the course this fall are: Alabama School of Math and Science, A.P. Brewer High School, Auburn High School, Billingsley High School, Boaz High School, Dadeville High School, Cullman High School, Daphne High School, Davidson High School, Florence High School, Fort Payne High School, Frances Marion High School, Hillcrest High School, Jackson High School, Mountain Brook High School, Northside High School, Pelham High School, Shades Valley High School, Sumter Central High School, Thompson High School, and Tuscaloosa County High School.
 
The first-year pilot schools are: Alabama School of Fine Arts, New Century Technology High School, Huntsville High School, Bob Jones High School, Hoover High School, LAMP, Muscle Shoals High School, and Lawrence County High School.
 
Schools in the second cohort are: Fairhope High School, Wenonah High School, Chambers County Career Tech Center, LeCroy Tech, Fairfield High Preparatory, Guntersville High School, Hartselle High School, Homewood High School, Spain Park High School, Columbia High School, JCIB, Minor High School, Oak Grove High School, James Clemens High School, Hazel Green High School, Oxford High School, Sylacauga High School, Hewitt-Trussville High School, Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy and Vestavia Hills High School.
 
As further encouragement for expanding Computer Science Course offerings, the Alabama State Board of Education passed a resolution in 2013 allowing Computer Science Courses to count as a mathematics credit toward high school graduation.
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Meet the Trainers at CS4AL
June 22, 2015 | Category: Resources Slideshow | Comments
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MEET THE TRAINERS LAYING THE FOUNDATION SUMMER INSITITUTE ENGLISH... [continue reading]
 
 
Computer Science: Not Just for Math and Science Students Anymore
May 27, 2015 | Comments
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This blog post originally appeared in the CSTA Voice. Carol Yarbrough is in her seventh year as a Computer Science Teacher after spending more than 20 year working at aerospace and telecommunications firms as a programmer/analyst. [continue reading]
 
 
A+ College Ready is Raising the Bar for Itself with Cohort VIII
May 19, 2015 | Comments
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Each year for the past seven years A+ College Ready (A+CR), in partnership with the State Department of Education (ALSDE), selects a group of Alabama high schools to participate in its program to advance college readiness. By applying to be a part of this program, these schools commit to implement highly rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) and pre-AP courses in math, science, and English to better prepare their students for success in college and careers. So whats special about Cohort VIII the gro... [continue reading]
 
 
A+ College Ready is Raising the Bar for Itself with Cohort VIII
May 19, 2015 | Comments
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Each year for the past seven years A+ College Ready (A+CR), in partnership with the State Department of Education (ALSDE), selects a group of Alabama high schools to participate in its program to advance college readiness. By applying to be a part of this program, these schools commit to implement highly rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) and pre-AP courses in math, science, and English to better prepare their students for success in college and careers. So whats special about Cohort VIII the gro... [continue reading]
 
 
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