White House Computer Science Education Kickoff

CSEdWeek On Monday, December 8th, the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) attended the White House Computer Science Education Week Kickoff Event. This event was aimed at expanding computer science (CS) education opportunities for U.S. students.

John Holdren, Science and Technology Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, gave opening remarks, followed by remarks from the Director of the National Science Foundation, France Cordova and U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith, who reminded the audience of the powerful role women have played in the development and evolution of computer science. 

The speakers were followed by two panels – Strong National Commitment to Expanding Computer Science Education and Girls and Underrepresented Minorities in Computer Science and Coding. The two panels included speakers from academia, industry, federal and state governments, and school districts, including NGCP Champions Board Member, Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls Code.

Throughout the event initiatives aimed at improving and expanding computer science education for youth around the county were announced, including:

  • AP Computer Science Principles, a CS course designed to be accessible for all students and to increase participation of young women and underrepresented minorities in CS. The course focuses on computing skills, understanding the real-world impact of computing applications, and programming literacy. Teach for America, the National Math and Science Initiative, and other partners will assist with the implementation and scale-up of the course. In addition, the College Board has established an online community for teachers to share resources and network.
  • Code.org committed to training teachers in 25 states in CS principles, partnering with 60 school districts to offer CS courses to their students, providing CS education opportunities to 1 million girls and 1 million youth of color in the next two years; and using the $20 million the organization raised to train 25,000 teachers to teach computer science.
  • The USA Science and Engineering Festival announced it will hold a computer science classroom design competition. Applicants are tasked with designing cost-effective and innovative K-12 computer science classrooms that encourage more young women and underrepresented minorities to study computer science and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
  • The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) will launch a nationwide initiative to engage Latinas in computing and technology careers. NCWIT will leverage its research capabilities and national network of partners to design and launch a national media campaign and supporting program to give Latinas the inspiration to explore technology careers, the resources to engage in computer science, and connections to computer science support networks.

To learn about all of the commitments made at the event read the FACTSHEET: New Commitments to Support Computer Science Education.

Computer Science Education Week is a call to action to inspire students and colleagues about CS education, to employ new and better strategies for engagement, and to connect with the broader community about the need for and value of CS education. We encourage you to connect with programs in your community through your local Collaborative and the National Girls Collaborative Project Program Directory as we continue to raise awareness about the impact of computing, celebrate the richness of computing careers, and work to address the critical need for CS education.