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CS10K: Prioritizing and Expanding Access to Computer Science Instruction in High-needs High Schools


Teach For America (TFA) proposes to recruit and support a diverse group of teachers to teach computer science (CS) in high-needs public high schools. Often students at low-resourced schools--frequently low-income students and students of color--do not receive the high-quality, rigorous computer science instruction needed for success in college and beyond. This CS10K proposal aims to increase access to CS for students of color, low-income students, female students, and students with intersections of these identities. TFA is well positioned to accomplish this as its organizational vision focuses on improving educational opportunities for all children, particularly low-income children and children of color. TFA placement schools serve students historically underrepresented in computing by socioeconomic status (>80% eligible for free/reduced price lunch) and racial/ethnic backgrounds (>80% identify as African American or Latino/a).

The proposed work will implement the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) course in urban and rural public high schools in 10 Teach For America (TFA) regions over the next three years, beginning with New York City, South Carolina, Kansas City, and the Rio Grande Valley. Specifically, TFA proposes to prepare 83 teachers, designated as ECS Fellows for at least a three-year period. In their first year as ECS Fellows, participating teachers will advocate for CS instruction in their schools. In their second and third years, they will teach the ECS curriculum, and in their third year and beyond, they will have the opportunity to become ECS Professional Development Facilitators. The long-term outcomes of this project are three-fold: more students in high needs areas will have access to ECS; a talent pipeline of CS10K educators will be created to serve high-needs populations, become advocates for increased access to CS, and prepare future ECS teachers in high-needs communities; and school leaders in high-needs high schools will commit to broadening participation in CS activities. This CS10K proposal plans to directly address existing CS education inequities and expands the research base in the following ways:

-- Recruit diverse leaders to teach CS in high-needs public high schools
-- Partner with school and district leaders to ensure high-needs high schools prioritize ECS in their course offerings and provide them with teachers who are qualified to teach ECS
-- Work with the ECS team to prepare and support 83 ECS Fellows to deliver the ECS curriculum to nearly 2,000 9th-12th grade students in high-needs urban and rural high schools

In evaluating this work, TFA will partner with SRI International to conduct a rigorous evaluation to answer the following questions of interest to both TFA and the broader CS education field: What is the impact of this project on CS learning and broadening participation in CS among students participating in the ECS courses led by ECS Fellows? What are the impacts of this project on teacher capacity and teacher leadership in CS? What are administrators? views on offering CS? How do they prioritize CS and navigate barriers?