for All in RI
Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) is among the most comprehensive statewide computer science (CS) initiatives in the country. CS4RI takes a coalition approach by combining national leadership with homegrown talent to reduce barriers to providing quality computer science education and professional development, and will bring CS learning opportunities to all Rhode Island schools in the years ahead.
What CS4RI Will Do
Before the launch of CS4RI in 2016:
AP Computer Science was only offered in only 9 public high schools, and no Title I schools (i.e., schools where at least 40% of a school's students are from low-income families).
Only 1% of RI high school students were enrolled in CS courses.
In 2014, fewer than 350 students graduated from a Rhode Island college/university with a bachelor’s degree in CS, but there were more than 1,000 open CS jobs available in the state.
Only 42 Rhode Island public school students took the Computer Science AP test in 2015, less than 1% of the total AP exams taken across the state. Only 26 passed with a score of 3 or higher. Of those students who earned a passing grade, 73.1% were white, and 76.9% were male. This compared with 68.1% white and 41.6%% male for all public school AP test takers.
Creating a talented and diverse pipeline of students with computer science (CS) expertise is critical to our economic future. Rhode Island’s IT industry is a leading force in our economy, and STEAM and IT jobs are among our fastest growing positions. We need to develop a workforce with the skills necessary to fill these high – wage, high – growth jobs.
All Rhode Island students should have the opportunity to take CS-related classes as early as kindergarten, and we should make sure Rhode Island public high school student have access to AP computer science courses. We must focus particularly on attracting students who have traditionally not participated in computer science. To increase our computer science options across all grades, we must engage community partners and resources and support schools and teachers in expanding their offerings.
Give kids the skills that matter, starting as early as kindergarten
Stop the brain drain by creating partnerships between our schools and businesses to raise awareness about the opportunities open right now in Rhode Island
Help kids get jobs that pay by giving them the 21st century skills they need to be successful
Attract 21st century businesses to invest in Rhode Island by demonstrating a commitment to building a pipeline of trained and talented workers
Address disparities, so we create opportunities to ensure that everyone can make it in Rhode Island
GameSalad is the revolutionary game development toolkit that allows anyone to create the game of their dreams without writing a line of code. It’s also the best way to introduce programming concepts, game design, and digital media creation to your students. Launched in 2010, GameSalad has been used by over one million aspiring game developers and has powered over 75 games that reached the top 100 in the App Store, including multiple #1 games.
Bootstrap is a sequence of research-backed computing curricula from the middle-school to the collegiate level. It can be deployed incrementally, allowing teachers to ease into computer science at their own pace. The first module can be integrated into a standard algebra class, taught by a math teacher without prior computing background, and has been shown to improve students' understanding and appreciation of algebra while simultaneously introducing rigorous computing. The materials are free and adapt to schools with limited access to computers. Bootstrap has been developed over two decades at universities and schools and has been used in over 28 US states and 10 countries.
The State of Rhode Island and Code.org are partnering to bring K-12 computer science to the State’s schools. Our partnership will focus on grades K-5 initially with the option to expand to include middle and high school courses. We will work together to give teachers professional learning opportunities to bring these courses to their students, build local capacity for sustainability, and collaborate on best practices for state and federal policy related to computer science education.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for students and teachers across the U.S. through K-12 pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s Introduction to Computer Science (ICS) units give middle school students a chance to apply computational and creative thinking, explore an iterative design process, develop apps, and venture into text programming. PLTW is honored to partner with CS4RI to increase access to computer science curriculum and professional development for Rhode Island students and teachers.
TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is a Microsoft Philanthropies program that helps high schools build sustainable computer science programs by pairing trained computer science professionals – from across the tech industry – with classroom teachers to team-teach computer science in high schools throughout the US. Through the TEALS partnership, teachers benefit from real-time professional development in their own classroom every day for 1-2 years. TEALS volunteers and partner teachers create a ripple effect, impacting the students they teach, and the many students who will study CS in the future.
The University of Rhode Island (URI) supports high schools in offering the new AP Computer Science Principles course, as well as an introductory course in programming and computational thinking for all students that can be used as a technology credit course. For each course, URI provides a complete set of free blended-learning style course material, teacher professional development, on-going support, and offers high school students free college credit through the state's Prepare RI program.
By 2022, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training projects that there will be more than 4,000 openings in computer and math jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the median annual wage for computer and IT jobs is about $80,000.
CS4RI leverages industry expertise through robust engagement with anchor companies and corporate partners to close the CS skills gap. Anchor companies “adopt” the CS4RI schools in their region, provide funding to offset CS4RI costs, or recruit one or more teams industry volunteers to support the implementation of CS4RI.