By Richard Parr
How do we meet the challenge of providing high-quality computer science education for all students?
Representatives from the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP) met with leaders from universities, school districts, nonprofit organizations and industry to answer this question at the Computer Science Education Regional Partners Summit held Sept. 25 at the White House in Washington, D.C.
This event, hosted by Code.org, a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students, focused on the current state of computer science, federal policies related to precollege computer science education and funding for future initiatives. Panelists at the event included educational and policy leaders from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.
Building on its role as a Code.org Professional Learning Partner, RUSMP assembled a team from the Houston area to attend the event. The team included Susan Boone, RUSMP Code.org manager; Adam Stephens, Houston Independent School District (HISD) officer, advanced academics; Miriam Winsten, Schlumberger director of global social responsibility; and Alice Fisher, RUSMP director for technology applications and integration, who told me, “The White House event was a phenomenal opportunity to network with other individuals who share the same passion for continuing to improve and expand computer science access for all students.” The group left the summit energized to move forward and find ways to expand the reach of the Code.org partnership with HISD and RUSMP.
RUSMP’s Code.org partnership, which includes providing professional development for computer science educators, builds upon 30 years as a leading education center that has provided high-quality programs, resources, support and research for the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education community. RUSMP continues to be the primary catalyst of sustained, progressive change in education in Houston-area schools and across Texas with its numerous programs for leaders, teachers and students and through its support to schools and school districts. Its partnership with Code.org is one of RUSMP’s latest collaborations to support and promote STEM in the Greater Houston area.
–Richard Parr is executive director of the Rice University School Mathematics Project.