Building a Better Educator Pipeline | ExpandED Schools
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Building a Better Educator Pipeline

Steve Roberts

 

ExpandED Pathways: Computer Science (CS) celebrated the graduation of its first cohort of educators in June. The Pathways CS initiative is made possible by Google and the Milton and Carrol Petrie Foundation.

Learn more about ExpandED Schools Pathways: Computer Science HERE.

 

Graduate Shaon Lindsay poses for a selfie with ExpandED Schools Steve Roberts, as Michele Valdez, Director of Training and Technology Initiatives at La Guardia Community College looks on.

 

How ExpandED Schools is Building a Better Educator Pipeline

 

 

In the U.S., research tells us that we may be years away from providing sufficient computer science education in all schools. However, ExpandED Schools isn’t willing to wait that long. 

In response, we’ve launched ExpandED Pathways: CS, an initiative with an ambitious goal to address the lack of a diverse teacher workforce trained to teach computer science to as many underserved communities as possible. 

While lofty, a little computational thinking helps break down the goal into a process. Start by recruiting community college students who might already be studying education, enroll them in a new course designed to fuse computer science with a foundation in education for after-school. Next, build a pipeline of individuals trained and ready to enter the tech workforce and New York City Public Schools. That’s exactly what ExpandED Pathways: CS did with students from Hostos Community College and LaGuardia Community College. 

 

“We're trying to bring computer science back to our underrepresented communities and give everyone an opportunity to see how important it is." 

Tanesha Harrigan, Program Director, Salvation Army Harlem

 

On graduation day, as participants danced down the aisle to accept their certificates, it was clear they have formed a strong and supportive community, with several saying they were sad to be finishing the program. At the same time, these newly trained educators are focused on the future and the opportunities they will have to bring computer science to more kids, especially those that would not otherwise be exposed to it. According to Pathways graduate Tanesha Harrigan, the Program Director at The Salvation Army Harlem, “The best part of this training is that it’s in-depth and socially conscious. We’re trying to bring computer science back to our underrepresented communities and give everyone an opportunity to see how important it is.” 

This past year Pathways: CS launched a total of sixteen new educators. Two participants are pursuing teaching certification at Brooklyn College. Two others have enrolled at 4-year colleges and will also be pursuing teaching degrees. All of the Pathways: CS graduates are remaining at their CBO placement sites in the coming school year and will continue to implement computer science into those afterschool programs. 

 

Scratch That

Pathways: CS is a semester long, 45-hour course offered at Hostos Community College and La Guardia Community College. Educators learn how to facilitate a robust curriculum called Creative Computing, which uses the Scratch programming language.

Creative Computing is all about engaging young people and supporting them as they learn to create with computers, rather than act as consumers. Pathways: CS educators also learn how to help students use computational thinking as a process to solve problems across different disciplines, and in the real world.

Participants receive pedagogical training in lesson planning, classroom management, teaching with technology and methods for creating culturally responsive classroom environments. Finally, they enter “education incubators,” where they are paid to work in an afterschool program and be mentored by staff so that they can benefit from their experience.

 

Looking For A Few Good People

We are now focused on recruiting participants for the next cohort to continue the success of the program. When asked if he would encourage a potential recruit to sign up, the answer from one Pathways: CS graduate was an emphatic yes. “I had computer tech in high school and I failed it,” says Tyrell Cole, a participant who works at the Salvation Army, “I was completely lost. Now, thanks to this program and the way we learned about computer science using Scratch, not only do I understand it, I can teach it.”

 

 Pathways: CS graduate Tyrell Cole from the Salvation Army on graduation day

 

These graduates are the first in what ExpandED Schools hopes will be a long line of educators trained to inspire and guide the next generation of computer scientists and computational thinkers, which eventually could lead to a more diverse technology workforce.

In the meantime, Pathways: CS is actively recruiting its next round of candidates. "We're excited to be entering the next phase for the upcoming school year," says Steve Roberts. "We love bringing in new individuals and hearing from new voices as they learn through this experience. It keeps our program fresh."

If you, or someone you know would make a great candidate email Steve Roberts sroberts@expandedschools.org or fill out this interest form.

Afterschool program sites willing to host/hire Pathways: CS participants for the upcoming school year can learn more by following this link:

  Placement Site Requirements.FY19 ExpandED Pathways Computer Science.pdf 

 

The Pathways: CS program would like to thank the participating faculty and students at Hostos Community College and La Guardia Community College. We would also like to thank Google and the Milton and Carroll Petrie Foundation for their generous support.

 

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