Starting Early to Build Computer Science Literacy

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

Leesylvania and Swans Creek Elementary Schools are among 19 Virginia schools selected to participate in the Computer Science (CS)-Ready Schools pilot program this year. The schools will work with CodeVA to build a sustainable foundation for computer science education and engagement with a focus on training teachers and administrators to bring computer science literacy to students and to offer enrichment that engages parents and the community. At the pilot’s completion, schools that successfully achieve the necessary benchmarks will earn the CS-Ready School designation.

“We’re excited for our teachers to develop the knowledge and skills to make computer science accessible to all students,” said Gail Charnick, instructional technology coach at Swans Creek Elementary. “Our students will not only build the computer science skills needed for future careers, but they’ll also develop critical thinking skills as they work through challenges.”

The CS-Ready Schools Program

The CS-Ready Schools program is a part of Virginia’s CS for VA initiative, a partnership between CodeVA  and the Virginia Department of Education with funding through Amazon Future Engineer. Other goals for the pilot include developing new tools and curricular resources that support this educational initiative and a plan for the eventual expansion of the program to all schools and divisions in Virginia.

“Participation in this program will build our school’s capacity to teach Virginia’s computer science standards within our current curriculum,” said Charnick. “Our teachers will benefit from professional development and the ability to work with other pilot schools as we challenge assumptions and generate ideas to tackle our goals. Through this program, we hope to move students from being just consumers of technology to become the next generation of innovators.”

Code VA

CodeVA will provide support and guidance to the 19 school sites as they identify key leaders, develop a plan of action, and design a strong foundational culture geared toward computer science education. All elements will be delivered virtually by CodeVA, due to COVID-19 limitations, and the initial 12-month timeline may be adjusted to account for increased demands on schools.

CodeVA is a Richmond-based nonprofit that works to ensure every child in Virginia has access to real, meaningful computer science education through advocacy, teacher training, and school programs. In 2016, their work achieved successful legislation to bring computer science into Virginia classrooms. As part of the state standards of learning, computer science is now mandated from kindergarten through 12th grade. Virginia was the first state in the country to have that happen.


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