By Sharon Aron Baron
Over the next four years, a Broward County Public Schools computer science initiative will serve as a national model for broadening computer science participation in schools, thanks to grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.
The three grants focus on increasing participation in computer science education among underserved groups, including minority students and students with disabilities.
BCPS offers computer science courses, curriculum, and activities at every elementary, middle, and high school.
According to the district, computer science prepares students to innovate and create new technologies that drive local and national economies and make a difference in a global society.
The first grant is a research-practice partnership focused on creating equitable computer science opportunities for elementary students.
This will integrate computer science through problem-based learning units that will eventually be made available nationwide on Code.org, one of the largest providers of K-12 computer science content.
The grant was awarded to BCPS in partnership with Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Education at the University of Chicago and with the University of Florida.
Focusing on increasing computer science participation among elementary students with disabilities, BCPS was selected as one of four partnering school districts for the Universal Design for Computer Science Learning: Partnership for Inclusive Elementary Computer Science Education grant. This grant was awarded to the University of Florida.
The third grant is the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Community of Practice to Prepare and Support Teachers to Teach Rigorous Computer Science Courses in Culturally Diverse School Districts. This will leverage HBCU to facilitate a series of professional development training for high school computer science teachers.
This was awarded to the Quality Education for Minorities Network, in partnership with L.L. Burge and Associates, LLC., and Florida Memorial University. BCPS was selected as one of three participating school districts.
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