Michigan schools to receive $15 million for coding incentive | National News

(The Center Square) – Michigan is one of seven states that will share $15 million to implement a Code.org pilot program to increase Advanced Placement Computer Science (AP CS) opportunities. The pilot focuses on expanding AP CS course offerings to more students and increasing diversity to ensure CS courses are […]

(The Center Square) – Michigan is one of seven states that will share $15 million to implement a Code.org pilot program to increase Advanced Placement Computer Science (AP CS) opportunities.

The pilot focuses on expanding AP CS course offerings to more students and increasing diversity to ensure CS courses are available to all students. Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to increasing computer science instruction for young women and students belonging to underrepresented groups. 

“By investing in our students early on, we are taking another step toward cultivating a rewarding education and career pathway for our students, creating a strong talent pool for businesses, and putting Michigan on the path to economic success,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said in a statement. “We are thankful for Code.org for choosing Michigan as one of the first states in the nation to launch this expansive, inclusive computer science opportunity. We encourage educators and students to explore the rewarding opportunities this new AP Computer Science offering brings.”

The goal of the pilot program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups pursuing careers in computer science or engineering.

Michigan schools can offer two college-level computer science courses with full curriculum materials and professional development support for teachers at no cost, thanks to grant funds through the MiSTEM Network.

“Progress on solving our national need to give students access and opportunities to high-quality computer science courses depends on the dedication and leadership of local organizations like the MiSTEM network,” Cameron Wilson, president of the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, said in a statement. “MiSTEM’s progress in expanding access to computer science over the last few years has made them a truly invaluable partner. They will continue to make a powerful difference in the lives of students who deserve the opportunity to learn a subject that’s transformational in their education, success and future.”

The partnership has trained over 300 AP Computer Science teachers and launched more than 300 new AP courses at no cost to Michigan schools. Since then, the number of students taking AP CS exams has increased more than 400% while maintaining the rate of students who earn college credit, Whitmer’s office said. More than 70% of Michigan students earned a score of 3 or higher on AP CSP Exams, qualifying them to potentially earn college credits.

The College Board has been awarding the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Awards since 2018 and 2/3 of the schools recognized from 2018 through 2020 in Michigan were a part of this partnership.

“We applaud Michigan’s commitment to providing a more diverse set of students with computer science courses, which are fundamental for 21st century careers,” Trevor Packer, head of the AP Program at the College Board, said in a statement. “We’re eager to see how the state’s efforts continue to close the equity gap in computer science education.”

Cody High School in Detroit Public Schools Community District recently received the Advanced Placement Computer Science Female Diversity Award from the College Board for having at least 50% or higher female exam rates on the AP CS Principles exam.

“I’m so glad that we have quality curriculum to rely on so that our students have an opportunity to learn about coding and computer science,” Carrie Russell, a Cody High School teacher said in a statement. “Code.org has provided a curriculum that is already College Board approved so our district was able to offer Computer Science Principles as an AP course. Through Code.org, I have received training, continuing professional development, and support to deliver instruction to my students that allow them to succeed or excel in computer science.” 

Janelle B. Smith

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