School District Celebrates Computer Science Education Week
Weeklong celebration to showcase robust digital curriculum offered across the District
PHILADELPHIA — The School District of Philadelphia is celebrating its 7th annual Computer Science Education Week with a roster of activities, including highlighting the District’s strategic investments in educational technology in recent years, STEM-related activities for students, and networking and professional development opportunities for teachers.
“Computer Science Education Week showcases the District’s work to expand access to quality digital learning experiences to all students,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “No matter the career field or course of study our students choose to enter after they graduate, they will need to be digitally literate to be successful. That’s why we have expanded our digital literacy curriculum in elementary and middle schools, and introduced more computer science classes in high schools, to ensure students of all ages are provided meaningful digital learning experiences.”
Dr. Hite visited Mifflin Elementary School on Wednesday to mark Computer Science Education Week with students and staff. He joined Principal Leslie Mason; Emily Adeshigbin, digital literacy teacher; Judd Pittman, Special Consultant to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education for STEM; Sara Frey of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit; and Mifflin second grade students, who coded with Spheros and Ozobots and worked on computers after the speaking program ended.
“When we provide children with a strong foundation in STEM, we give them the tools needed to pursue a thriving career path for themselves,” said Principal Mason. “As a result, at Mifflin we provide coding activities for students as early as kindergarten, and STEM clubs for students to supplement their classroom learning with robotics and other activities.”
The District has made significant investments in recent years to enhance students’ digital learning experiences. It has created its own digital literacy curriculum, used by more than 130 elementary schools, which includes lessons and activities around coding, internet safety, and computational thinking. There is also alignment between core subjects and the digital literacy curriculum. In addition, 23 high schools offer computer science courses, including Introduction to Technology and Computer Applications, Introduction to Computer Science, and AP Computer Science Principles.
Extensive professional development sessions and training are also available for teachers. All K-8 teachers have received training in teaching coding using popular instructional robots such as Spheros and Ozobots. The Office of Educational Technology has also provided intense coaching support around integrating Chromebooks, SmartBoards and other types of technology into the classroom.
As part of Computer Science Education Week, Dr. Hite also joined CS4Philly on Monday at the Kimmel Center for the Student CS Experience, a full day program for high school students from across Philadelphia to engage in hands-on computer science learning.
In addition, students in schools across the District this week will participate in the Hour of Code, sponsored by Code.org, designed to expose students to computer science through the basics of computer programming in a fun, 60-minute activity. Last year, more than 16,000 District students participated.
Computer Science Education Week is part of an annual, nationwide program organized by Code.org and runs from December 3 through 9, 2018. The initiative is designed to inspire more students in grades K through 12 to take an interest in computer science.
More information about the District’s participation in Computer Science Education Week can be found online.