COMMITMENT TO ACTION

Expanding Computer Science Education in Puerto Rico

Commitment by Computer Science for All in Puerto Rico (CS4ALL-PR)

In 2019, Computer Science For All Puerto Rico (CS4All-PR) committed to expand its work to increase equitable access to computer science education by (1) building a network to strengthen and formalize the agenda for computer science education in Puerto Rico; (2) training 24 non-computer science teachers (grades 6-12), who will commit to implementing computer science education in their classrooms; (3) formalizing their partnership with Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA); and (4) creating an Advisory Group to help sustain these efforts. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria, over 300,000 people left the island and over 550 schools were closed, increasing disparities between who has access to computer science education. This commitment will promote the integration of computer science education into classrooms across Puerto Rico, helping students to gain skills that will promote their growth and improve their ability to meet the demands of the job market.



Overview
Summary

Commitment

Expanding Computer Science Education in Puerto Rico

Launched

2019

Est. Duration

1 Years

Estimated Total Value

$71,000

Region

Latin America & Caribbean

Countries

PUERTO RICO

Commitment by

Computer Science for All in Puerto Rico (CS4ALL-PR)

Partner(s) of the Commitment Maker(s)

University of Puerto Rico; World Computer Exchange; Computer Science Teachers Association; University of California, Los Angeles; The National Center for Computer Science Education; Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance
Details

CS4All-PR commits to expanding its work to increase equitable access to computer science education in Puerto Rico by (1) building a network to strengthen and formalize the agenda for computer science education in Puerto Rico, (2) training 24 non-computer science teachers (grades 6-12) who will commit to implementing computer science education, (3) formalizing their previously created partnership with Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and (4) creating an Advisory Group to help sustain these efforts.

CS4All-PR will begin by creating a Collaborative Impact Network that includes five universities. The network will convene two-to-three regional meetings to identify key needs, leverage best practices from urban universities to support access in rural areas, and promote collaboration on advocacy efforts.

CS4All-PR will also expand upon its previous trainings and provide 24 teachers (6-12 grades) who do not have experience teaching computer science, with professional development to teach computer science in their current classrooms. All 24 teachers will commit to implementing computer science education in the classroom immediately thereafter.

The CS4All-PR team also plans to formalize its partnership with the CSTA by onboarding a CSTA representative to be part of the CS4All- PR leadership team. As part of the partnership with CSTA, each of the teachers receiving professional development will have the opportunity to be paired with a mentor or become a mentor after their training.

Finally, the team will create an Advisory Group to support the financial and programmatic sustainability of CS4All-PR. The group will provide guidance and assistance in leveraging financial opportunities aligned with the mission of CS4All-PR. The team aims to recruit four members who have a strong fiscal network and knowledge of best practices in computer science education, as well as a focus on equity and inclusion.

June – October 2019
Network building: Conduct outreach to recruit universities in the Collaborative Impact Network; Meet with university representatives and add one university to the network each month.

Teacher training: The first cohort of 12 middle and high school teachers with no previous background in teaching computer science will receive professional development to integrate CS in the classroom. Selected teachers trained the first summer will join the CSTA and serve as mentors for the new teachers in the second year.

Formalize CSTA partnership: Add a CSTA representative on the CS4All-PR leadership team.

September – December 2019
Network building: Convene two-to-three regional meetings of the Collective Impact Network to discuss projects and build common understanding as well as project momentum.

Ongoing monitoring: The facilitators leading the training in Puerto Rico will have virtual calls with the National Center for Computer Science Education and the newly trained teachers to monitor the progress of the teachers trained in the summer of 2019.

January 2020 – March 2020
Advisory Group: Hold a series of meetings with key stakeholders to build a CS4All-PR Advisory Group.

March – June 2020
Teacher training: Recruit teachers for Summer 2020 professional development opportunity.

June – October 2020
Teacher training: Conduct professional development for second cohort of 12 middle and high school teachers. Teachers from the first cohort will serve as mentors.

Background

Due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the impacts of Puerto Rico’s financial crisis, over 300,000 people have left the island and over 550 schools have been closed. Computer science education is a critical component to ensuring that remaining students have access to skills that will promote their growth and readiness for the demands of the job market.

The Computer Science for All (CS4All-PR) leadership has advocated for computer science integration in Puerto Rico since 2014. Between 2014 and 2016, they provided an online course on incorporating computation thinking into curriculum to over 300 teachers across Puerto Rico. The team also successfully created the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), a network of professors and teachers committed to expanding access to computer science, with over 100 members across three universities.

CS4All-PR has established alliances with providers of nationally recognized computer science curricula, such as Exploring Computer Science (ECS), and supported efforts to translate the ECS curriculum in Spanish, ensuring it is culturally relevant in Puerto Rico, and creating a model for inclusive instruction. The team also trained 32 teachers (grades 6-12) to equip them with skills they need to effectively teach computer science in the classroom.

During the 2018 CS4All-PR Summit, both the Puerto Rico Secretary of Economic Development (PRDE) and the Secretary of Education endorsed CS4All-PR’s strategic plan, supporting the implementation of computer science education in the K-12 system over the next ten years. However, there continues to be challenges promoting computer science education as a key part of learning in Puerto Rico and disparities between who has access to computer science education remains. Changes in leadership and priorities at the PRDE have led to disparate efforts to advance computer science access, and the recently trained teachers have not all been able to implement computer science education in the classroom.

Partnership Opportunities

The CS4All-PR team is seeking industry mentors and community organizing models that can be replicated to advocate for computer science for all, across all education levels. The team is interested in connecting with high-level leaders prepared to drive computer science education reform who may be interested in joining an advisory group that will help build a sustainable network of advocacy for inclusive computer science education. The goal of the network will be to advance access to high quality computer science education for all students in Puerto Rico. The group will ultimately focus on schools in rural areas, girls, women and children with disabilities. CS4All-PR can share translated computer science curricula with educators interested in accessing computer science curriculum in Spanish. The team can also offer best practices on how to translate a curriculum and implement it in schools, as well as how to write grant proposals advocating for improved access to computer science education.

Progress Reports