Building Computer Science Education Pathways at Small and Rural Schools in California

Ensuring that our nation's urban and rural children have the chance to become proficient in computer science is a sure way to set them on a trajectory to great career options. We need to do this to close the digital divide and level the playing field.

Wendy Kopp ~ Founder ~ Teach for America

What is CS4NorCal?

CS4NorCal is a unique 5-year regional research and innovation project sponsored by the California Small School Districts' Association to create K-12 computer science pathways in small rural schools in 6 northern California counties: Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta and Siskiyou. Through 2024-2025, CS4NorCal is an opportunity for education leaders from county offices of education, districts and schools to investigate and design implementation models to integrate the 2018 state CS standards into their educational programs and provide students with access to one of the core subjects of a “well-rounded” education. (Every Child Succeed Act, 2015)

With guidance from the Sacramento County Office of Education, local planning teams will co-design professional learning and school implementation models. Researchers from the University of California at Davis will evaluate the process to inform the refinement of a high-quality product that can be replicated in similar rural communities. Educators will participate in up to 3 years of compensated professional learning and form a regional CS community of practice. Schools will receive access to no-cost or low-cost, nationally-validated, standards-aligned CS curriculum. Community partners will integrate CS pathways into postsecondary preparation and workforce development initiatives.

Assembling a Team to Implement Equity-Minded CS Pathways

Over the course of the project, teams of educators and interested stakeholders will bring CS education to K-12 students in Northern California. Learn from fellow educators who are currently supporting and implementing K-12 CS in the four videos below.

Leading with the CS Standards

Dr. Emily Thomforde is a curriculum developer who creates engaging and impactful CS lessons. She shares her expertise in CS and packages it in lessons that can be utilized and adapted by expert K-12 teachers across Northern California.

Integrating CS Content into the Elementary Classroom

Cheryl Romig is an elementary school educator who embraced the California K-12 CS standards in her classroom. Utilizing equity-minded curriculum and high-quality professional learning, Cheryl integrates CS content to help accelerate student learning in core academic subjects.

Deeply Exploring CS in a Middle School Elective

Avion Weaver is a middle school teacher who brings CS education opportunities to his middle school students enrolled in his STEM elective. Leveraging proven instructional strategies, Avion engages his students with cutting-edge CS curriculum that teaches students about programming, networking, web development, game design, and physical computing.

Receiving Ongoing Support

Bryan Flaig is a CS Coach. In his experience as a teacher and administrator, Bryan provides support to teams of teachers implementing CS in their classrooms. His expertise is an example of the ongoing support that will be provided in the CS4NorCal project.

Call to Action

CS4NorCal: Call to Action for Education Leaders

Join the Small School District Association as we design a high-quality implementation model to bring computer science pathways to students in rural communities.

Tell the education leaders in your community how CS4NorCal can impact your districts and schools. Give the youth in your region the opportunity to access high-demand, high-wage careers in computer science and STEM fields.

Click here to access a printable Call to Action flyer to share with your colleagues.

CS4NorCal One-Pager

Invitation to Participate

SSDA is recruiting school teams from Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta and Siskiyou counties. No prior experience with computer science is necessary! Each team will include at least 2 teachers and an administrator. At the high school level, the team also will include a counselor. Schools will commit to implementing CS instruction across at least 2 grade levels.

Participants -- up to 265 teachers -- will be assigned to one of four cohorts:

  • Pilot (3 years starting in summer 2021)

  • Expansion 1 (3 years starting in summer 2022)

  • Expansion 2 (2 years starting in summer 2023)

  • Comparison (1 year, starting in summer 2024)

Click here to access a printable Invitation to Participate flyer to share with your colleagues.

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