How successful have our district partnerships been in driving short- and long-term outcomes in each region?
In 2014-15, Code.org partnered with 35 districts across the United States to bring curriculum, professional development and support to over 500 new CS teachers.
District-wide Impact and Barriers to Sustainability
In partnership with Outlier, 11 district leaders in six of our partner regions (Broward County, Charles County, Denver, New York City, Seattle, and Spokane) were interviewed. A range of district roles was represented in the sample, including curriculum supervisors, principal supervisors, CTE coordinators and directors, and assistant principals. All leaders had responsibilities outside of Code.org and reported that they spent from about 3% - 20% of their total workload on Code.org related activities.
Code.org has greatly increased the priority of computer science in the partner districts.
Long-term sustainability of gains made through district partnerships is a top concern, for the following reasons:
District leaders face many challenges in making Computer Science a priority and implementing Code.org programs, including: getting State-level buy-in, securing the necessary infrastructure and funds, integrating CS into the schedule and graduation requirements, and finding and supporting qualified teachers.
District leaders see a need to engage the broader local community in this effort, including guidance counselors, higher education institutions and industry.
Current district leaders do not have actionable plans to sustain their computer science efforts, even though they intend to do so.
Overall, we are encouraged to see that we are helping districts increase the priority of computer science locally in the face of some big challenges, such as infrastructure, funding, competing graduation requirements, and continued teacher development. District planning for sustainability is the current need and focus of future evaluation work.
The Importance of Administrators and Counselors in Change Efforts
In an effort to create school-wide buy-in and support for our district partnerships, Code.org held one-day professional development sessions for school administrators and counselors in Fall 2014. A total of 96 school administrators and counselors from 7 partner districts (Broward County, Boston, Chicago, Charles County, Denver, Seattle, and Spokane) completed a post-workshop survey administered by Outlier.
Respondents believe that computer science is necessary for high school students, but feel less strongly that it should be required.
Respondents reported that the professional development “somewhat” influenced their values and beliefs about computer science and computer science education for students. The counselors reported a statistically significantly higher influence than the administrators.
Nearly a third of all respondents felt that the school did not have the resources (materials, CS content, and instructional strategy support) necessary to teach computer science, specifically the Exploring Computer Science curriculum on which they received training.