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The College of St. Scholastica

Through funding provided by the National Science Foundation, a new initiative focused on studying the impact of coaching on teachers in computer science (CS) will begin this month.

Access to computer science in K12 education is critical for our society, where we rely on computing in our day to day lives. It is detrimental to have only 51% of all high schools in the United States offering computer science courses on a regular basis and less than 5% of all students learning CS.

Rural schools, urban schools, and schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students have a much harder time working CS into their offerings due to a lack of resources, including teachers who are comfortable teaching it. This program will work to coach high school teachers to support them in increasing the access and success of students in CS learning.

While coaching in several forms is embedded in many schools, coaching in computer science is relatively new. For subjects such as English or Math, teachers are supported to improve their practice through district-supported leadership and systems such as principals, curriculum specialists, coaches, and professional learning communities.

To continue to support the scaling of the CSforAll movement and implement critical systems change, the CS education community needs to turn attention to how best to support and scale coaching within schools as a means of ongoing support for CS teachers.

Two organizations, The National Center for Computer Science Education (NCCSE) and Code Savvy will be working in a joint effort to conduct these research and professional development sessions for educators across the country. Both organizations are pooling their expertise and networks into developing CS coach professional development and two coaching programs — one for Minnesota High School teachers and schools, and one for AP CS teachers from across the country.

Jennifer Rosato of NCCSE provides some insight, “We’ve seen more and more schools offering CS courses, however, teachers often have only a week of summer professional development and limited support after the first year to learn an entirely new subject. Coaching is critical to help teachers improve their understanding of CS and how to teach it to reach all students.”

Both programs will use an instructional coaching model that includes summer professional development for coaches who will then mentor teachers over the academic year, using multiple coaching cycles to support and improve CS teaching. The coaching model is designed around the CSTA Standards for CS Teachers and focuses specifically on equitable teaching practices. These practices are woven throughout and will be central to the coaching process as coaches and teachers work to identify and meet the needs of historically marginalized students in CS courses.

Recruitment of both teachers and coaches is underway now.

For more information and to find out how to get involved, please visit

About NCCSE – The National Center for CS Education (NCCSE) champions, researches, and provides equitable computer science education opportunities for K16 students and educators. NCCSE supports over 2,500 teachers and 10,000 students across the country in teaching and learning computer science through curriculum, professional development and other services. The Center works to increase the capacity of school districts and teachers to teach CS, increase access to CS for students, increase the participation of marginalized students and improve the engagement of students in CS learning.

About Code Savvy – A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Code Savvy’s mission is to interrupt and counteract existing gender, racial, and socioeconomic gaps in computing by equipping youth and educators with the knowledge, skills, and support to create with technology. This is done through the development of computer science and technology learning opportunities for people of all backgrounds. By focusing on ensuring access to technology and computational thinking skills, Code Savvy envisions a world where individuals in every community have the tools and skills to use and create the technology they need.