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Top moments from the Summer of CS Virtual Kickoff Event

June 26, 2020
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This summer marks the second Summer of CS - a series of professional development workshops over the summer for educators, administrators and counselors. We kicked it off with a virtual event on June 18, with a focus on equity and the value of computer science education for our students. Here are some of the top moments from the day: 

  • The people
    This year’s Summer of CS brought over 200 diverse participants from across the state with varying levels of experience and grade expertise (primary, secondary, and postsecondary educators). This diverse crowd ensured a productive conversation that left room for each of us to learn from and grow with one another. It’s clear that California’s teachers, counselors and administrators are open to improving and increasing the study of CS statewide—and that’s encouraging!
  • Presentations from students
    This year’s Summer of CS kicked off with three California students—a rising 5th grader, a rising 9th grader, and a 2020 high school graduate—discussing their experiences with computer science and how they believe it transforms their education and sets them up for a successful career, wherever their passion lies. Hearing from these students further emphasized for us the importance of a quality CS education for all of California’s students.
  • How we can turn our solidarity into action
    CS equity is not only a STEM issue, it’s a systemic issue. Dr. Jane Margolis (UCLA), JeffriAnne Wilder (NCWIT), and Jackie Smalls ( Code.org) discussed the importance of not only having difficult conversations, but taking action and putting forth a concerted effort to scale CS and ensure that every student has the opportunity to pursue a career in CS. For more information, read CSforCA’s statement on how we plan to turn our solidarity into action. 
  • Framing learning CS as like learning new set of problem-solving skills
    How are we ensuring that students taking CS are getting high quality instruction? Efrain Tovar emphasized that CS isn’t just a subject that you go through at school—it’s a mindset, that includes concepts like privacy and security, communication and collaboration, and systems thinking.
  • Why CS?
    If we want to best support our students, then teaching them CS will give them the skills and perspective on best understanding the world around them. Students who study CS perform better academically, are more likely to be creative, and tend to have much higher engagement in their classes. Providing CS classes isn’t just an opportunity for them to learn programming; it’s an opportunity to give them the tools to empower themselves.
  • Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’s story of STEM education
    When discussing CS equity on an institutional level, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas has been on both sides of the issue—and we were excited to have her present the keynote address. After graduating from MIT with a degree in Electrical Engineering, she came back to her home in San Fernando Valley to realize that students in the K-12 system were not getting the opportunity to study CS like she had when she was that age. So she started a nonprofit called DIY Girls to give young girls the opportunity to learn about STEM. She understands the importance of investing in CS education on a statewide level, not only to prepare the youth for 21st century jobs, but to give them the tools to address problems that they see, similar to what she did.
  • The focus on equity
    Equity is at the core of our Summer of CS discussion, as we continuously champion the importance of a quality CS education for all of California’s students—especially the low-income and students of color who are often left behind. The Summer of CS Administrator Workshop highlighted the importance of computer science in empowering communities and creating a diverse tech workforce.  For more on the importance of equity in CS, checkout our Equity Implementation Guide. 

Missed the kickoff event? You can catch up by watching recordings of the event at the Summer of CS website. Make sure to check out the other workshops and events happening throughout the summer.

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