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Programs Train K-8 Teachers to Integrate CS Into Core Classes

hands of student working with a LEGO Spike robotic kit

A Chesapeake Public Schools student creates and programs a LEGO Spike robotic kit to investigate probability.

Credit: Adrienne Sawyer / Chesapeake Public Schools

The Center for Educational Partnerships (TCEP) at Old Dominion University has designed two programs that train teachers to help students learn core subjects and build computer skills at the same time. The programs were developed after TCEP won a competition sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, which in 2017 added a requirement that schools integrate computer science standards into core classes.

The two training efforts are PROGRAM, a regional partnership of schools and educational institutions, focused on kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers in Hampton Roads, Va., and ARCS, assisting kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers in rural areas of Virginia.

Adrienne Sawyer, a supervisor for Chesapeake Schools, said PROGRAM is helping students learn Python programming. "The kids are doing it," she says. "They can go further than basic block programming. Without PROGRAM, I would have never even thought of doing Python in elementary school."

Meanwhile, ARCS aims to serve 440 teachers over its five-year grant period, impacting approximately 18,000 students who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM. ARCS works with Virginia DOE and CodeVA to train teachers and help them acquire computer science microcredentials. ARCS will begin recruiting its second cohort this fall.

From Old Dominion University
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