District Celebrates 13th Annual Computer Science Education Week
The School District of Philadelphia is celebrating its 13th annual Computer Science Education Week, a weeklong celebration that highlights the District’s commitment to digital literacy and coding.
“During my Listening & Learning tour, I heard from students that they wanted access to a wider variety of courses and electives more aligned with their interests that prepare them for their future. Technology is the future,” said Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D., Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia. “Computer science education provides students with opportunities in our economy and society, while also advancing digital equity and equipping students with fundamental computer science and media literacy skills.”
Over the last 13 years, the District has made strides in expanding access to Digital Literacy to just over 34,000 Kindergarten through eighth grade students across 112 schools. Students in these spaces are learning Computer Science Fundamentals and Coding, Computational Thinking, Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety, Digital Tools and Media Information Research and Evaluation.
“It is the job of the School District to provide the education and skills training to prepare our students for the future. Whether that be college, apprenticeships, or the workforce, we want to help our students become innovative producers of technology,” said Melanie Harris, Chief Information Officer for the School District of Philadelphia.
The District celebrated the week in schools across the District are participating 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. Students regularly participate in coding activities during digital literacy classes. An event featuring the Hour of Code was held on Tuesday at Lingelbach.
“By not providing students with computer science, we are widening the educational gap. If we are in pursuit of access to an equitable education for all students, we must include access to computer science in the plan,” said Lingelbach principal Lisa Waddell.
“Coding and 21st century skills are not just valuable assets for future careers; they are essential tools for empowering students to navigate the complexities of the digital world, become creative problem solvers, and active contributors to society,” said Tanika Seals, a Digital Literacy Teacher for Lingelbach Elementary School. “By equipping students with these skills, we prepare them for success in a future where technology continues to transform our lives.”
The District has been offering digital literacy courses in K-8 schools since 2010. Some of the investments and District-wide initiatives to further computer science education in the last few years include:
- Updated and rebranded the existing Kindergarten through eighth grade Digital Literacy Curriculum
- Invested $2.1 million to upgrade Digital Literacy Labs in 24 schools and will continue to upgrade labs in all elementary and middle schools in the District
Computer Science Education Week is part of an annual, nationwide program organized by Code.org and runs from December 8 through December 11. The initiative is designed to inspire more students in grades K through 12 to take an interest in computer science.
For more information on opportunities for students in Computer Science and Coding, or to track how many students participate throughout the week, please visit: https://sites.google.com/philasd.org/hour-of-code