Dear K12 Educators:
The Milwaukee Tech Hub (MTH) vision is for the greater Milwaukee region to be nationally ranked home for people to thrive within a vibrant community built on innovation and technology. Tech dependent industries contributed to $27.6B in regional economic impact in 2017. It is critical that the emerging workforce has the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to thrive in this new economy.
This page has been developed by the MTH Education Workgroup to help educators step through a process and connect to the wide variety of resources available to build and independently sustain a high quality computer science program.
Step One: Understand the WHY behind the case for change. Consider the data points you will track and identify your baseline as well as your goals for the future. Engage district administration and staff from multiple disciplines.
Step Two: Connect to one or more of the programs in the greater Milwaukee region. Consider how the programs could be integrated into school communications to encourage student participation and included in co-curricular programming to reduce barriers to access and encourage staff engagement. For example:
Girls Who Code (G6-12)
MSOE Programming Challenge (Fall)
Marquette Programming Challenge (Spring)
Code The Way (Summer, G11-12)
CyberGirlz (Summer, G7-8)
Step Three: Introduce computer science concepts to interested staff members across disciplines in K-12 with the goal of offering enough breadth and depth to support student interests and student success in a college level experience (such as AP CSP, AP CSA, IB, etc.) There are many new options to help educators gain confidence in their ability to teach computer science, including access to full curriculum, without an immediate need for additional licensure. For example:
Code.org: Provides K12 resources and professional development workshops FOR FREE.
Project Lead The Way - Computer Science: This program enables teachers from a wide variety of disciplines to teach PLTW computer science courses at any PLTW affiliated high school upon completion of a course-specific training program.
TEALS (Microsoft Philanthropies Technology Education and Literacy in Schools): Pairs educators with trained industry professionals to team teach select CS courses at the high school level. Districts agree to reimburse industry volunteers for minor expenses.
Step Four: Ensure the sustainability of your computer science program by encouraging secondary educators from a variety of disciplines to work toward a portable Wisconsin CS 405/1405 license and provide them with the incentives and support they need to be successful. This will prepare a larger percentage of your staff to be able to inspire students to learn about computer science both within and outside of their primary discipline. Options include:
Prepare to take the CS Praxis exam. This path to CS licensure requires existing licensure in another core content area before registering for the exam. The exam was redesigned for 2018 and includes similar content to that found in AP CSP, AP CSA and Data Structures.
Complete CS certification through Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC). This proficiency based program provides both online and on site options to learn required content and includes completion of a Teaching Methods in Computer Science course. MTEC coaches educators via the on-the-job application of content knowledge and pedagogy. Those completing this program do not take the CS Praxis exam.
Complete CS certification through a DPI approved post-secondary education provider (content to be provided by the Higher Education Regional Alliance at a later date).
Pursue a “district endorsed” certification pathway. Any secondary teacher can teach “CS coursework” on an emergency license for up to 3 years. The district provides them with the supports they need to be successful and can then approve their application for state licensure without any additional testing and/or program participation. Passing the CS Praxis exam is still desirable to ensure the license is fully portable.
Pursue an “experienced based pathway to licensure”: Districts can hire industry professionals who would like to teach on a part/full time basis through the experience-based licensure pathway. However, unlike engineering or other technical education subjects, the state requires those who wish to teach CS be licensed in another content area before pursuing their CS license. Please refer to MTEC and/or CESA1 for teacher licensing support.
Step Five: Connect to the regional, state and national network of CS educators to further inform your practice. Engage your counseling team to encourage students along the way. For example,
THAT Conference (Summer)
SLATE Conference (Winter)
College Board AP Central (AP CSA/CSP)
#AskAboutAI (powered by Getting Smart)
AI4K12 (collaboration between CSTA and AAAI)
NOTE: Remember that preparing students for an innovation economy continually disrupted by technological advances requires that they are aware of the changing worlds of higher education and work. Be an ambassador for change in your school’s Academic and Career Planning process so that all students are selecting appropriate coursework that supports the development of human, technological and data literacy skills.