Computer Science Pilot Program Wraps Up First Teacher Training
May 12th, 2016
STARKVILLE, Miss. —The Computer Science for Mississippi program is set to help the state’s students prepare for careers in a high-tech, high-demand field.
Also known as CS4MS, the program has completed its summer training for teachers in anticipation of the pilot program’s rollout in districts across Mississippi during the upcoming school year.
Sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), in partnership with the Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU) at Mississippi State University, CS4MS aims to equip Mississippi’s students with the computer science skills necessary to enter the high-tech workforce.
At the training sessions, elementary and high school educators from 38 participating school districts across Mississippi learned how to teach the new computer science curricula. Over 160 teachers took part in hands-on training and robotics demonstrations, practiced coding with Code.org, and received an Edison robot to take back to their classrooms in the fall.
“We are looking to the teachers who took part in this training to help us shape what computer science will look like in every grade level, in every school across the state,” said Shelly Hollis, a project manager for the RCU who is overseeing the CS4MS pilot.
Computer science is a high-demand field that currently has more job openings than workers qualified to fill those positions. The MDE hopes that by teaching computer science skills in the K-12 years, students will be better positioned to build careers in computer science and related technology fields.
“The teachers recognize the need for students to be exposed to computer science concepts, and they understand how important these skills are to be college and career ready,” Hollis said.
In the pilot year, computer science curricula will be introduced to students in grades K-5 and 9-12. In addition to pretraining over the summer, teachers will be supported throughout the upcoming school year with further training. CS4MS will grow to include additional grades in the coming years.
“Only a few other states have adopted a K-12 curriculum for computer science, so Mississippi is at the forefront of the growing computer science movement,” said Hollis. “The goal is to have computer science offered in each grade, at every school in Mississippi by 2024.”
To learn more about the RCU and its work to support public education in the state of Mississippi, visit rcu.msstate.edu.