The Northeast Florida CIO Council is honored to spotlight various educational organizations including STEM2 Hub.
Just a few short years ago, computer science courses were being offered in only two high schools in Duval County Public Schools. It was critical that students would have the opportunity to take computer science courses in all high schools so that doors would be open to the high-wage, high-demand careers in technology. In 2016, we began a partnership with Code.org in the region to bring computer science education to elementary school students. The work began in Clay County, and regional capacity was built so that instruction in computer science fundamentals was available across the region.
With a need to increase access to computer science, we set a goal to bring this offering to all high schools throughout the region. Just a few years later, all high schools in our region are offering at least one computer science course. But high school courses were not enough. We needed to work to build a pipeline that begins in kindergarten and leads to careers. The STEM2 Hub was an earlier adopter of Computer Science Discoveries, a middle school course, now being taught formally or informally across middle schools in the region. Robotics and STEM courses are being implemented in the school day in middle schools, as well.
Courses range from Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles to courses such as web-design, 3D game design, cybersecurity, and more. New courses are currently being developed for pilot including Computer Science for AI and Mathematics for AI, and Introduction to Machine Learning.
As demand for coding and computer science grows, access must be provided in a systematic
way that assures access for all students. The state of Florida added two courses to the course
catalog for computer science in elementary schools. Now, both Introduction to Computer
Science I and II has been made available. There are approximately 1.2 million elementary
school students in the state of Florida. There are 214,000 students, or 17 percent of
elementary school students presently enrolled in this course.
Over half of those enrolled are students who are identified as part of a group who are underrepresented in the technology workforce.
We continue to build capacity for high quality computer science instruction to be delivered in our classrooms. The STEM2 Hub staff participated in the development and implementation of the Department of Education’s Computer Science Bootcamps.
These boot camps were designed to equip teachers to pass the State Computer Science Certification test. To date, about 1,000 Florida teachers have participated in the week-long program, with hundreds from our region. This program is ongoing and will lead to a strong teacher workforce prepared to teach tomorrow’s technology leaders.