Faculty in Buffalo State’s Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department would like to see more high schools offer computer science courses to help prepare students for a lucrative profession that needs workers.
One way to achieve this is to encourage high school principals to offer computer science courses and/or start computer clubs in their schools to pique student interest. Thus, CIS, with a grant from Google, is hosting the Computer Science for All (CS4ALL) in Western New York Principals’ Summit on Tuesday, April 10, from 3:45 to 7:45 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall.
Principals from approximately 25 regional high schools are planning to attend.
Chris Stephenson, head of computer science education at Google, will give the welcoming address. Jan Cuny, the National Science Foundation’s program director and CS4ALL movement leader, will give the keynote address.
Afterward, CIS faculty will present “Emerging School,” “Accomplished,” and “Exemplary” awards to the attending principals, based upon the number and level of CS courses their schools offer.
“The end goal is for all the high schools in Western New York to teach computer science courses or have some computer science presence,” said Sarbani Banerjee professor of CIS and one of the summit organizers. “The more computer science courses they offer, the more likely students will choose a computer science profession in the future.”
According to the nonprofit organization Code.org, a leading nonprofit organization that promotes computer science education, 71 percent of all new jobs in the STEM fields are in computing, but only 8 percent of STEM graduates are pursuing computer science degrees.
“We’re trying to close that gap,” Banerjee said.
It’s been an ongoing effort. Since 2012 through Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) grant funding from Google, the CIS Department has offered free summer professional development trainings to approximately 150 local teachers.
However, teachers can only do so much without the support of their principals, Banerjee pointed out, which is how the Principals’ Summit came to be.
“Like the CS4HS workshops have done for teachers in the past, the Principals’ Summit will start to build a community of administrators who are interested in moving their schools forward in twenty-first century skills.” said Neal Mazur, associate professor and chair of CIS.
For more information about CS4ALL in WNY, visit the CS4HS website.
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