CS Toolkit

Do you want to get Computer Science in your school or community?
Our CS Toolkit can guide you!

Why This ToolKit?
Why This ToolKit?

Our goal is to increase students’ access to learn the computing skills
necessary for success in the 21st century.

Why Computing?
Why Computing?
Computing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States with more than two-thirds of computing jobs coming from sectors other than information technology including: manufacturing, defense, healthcare, life sciences, financial services, and retail.

  • The US Department of Labor predicts there will be 1.4 million open jobs in fields related to computing by 2020. At current U.S. graduation rates for computer science degrees, two-thirds of those jobs will go unfilled.
  • Computing jobs pay 75 percent more than the national median annual salary.
  • Computing education increases logical thinking and problem solving skills through interactive learning that produces tangible results for students.
The Massachusetts Equation
The Massachusetts Equation
Massachusetts is a world-class center of excellence in education, high tech, biotech, healthcare, and finance. The Commonwealth is heavily dependent on the state’s capacity to generate computing talent capable of driving innovation. And yet:

  • There are newly adopted standards for teaching Computer Science in Massachusetts.
  • There is no Computer Science teacher licensure in the state.
  • In most Massachusetts districts Computer Science does not count as a core Math or Science credit, it counts as an elective.
  • The Public Higher education system in Massachusetts does not recognize AP CS or any other CS course as a Math or Science credit toward entrance.
CS Starts Here!STEP 1: Understand the LandscapeSTEP 2: Build the CaseSTEP 3: Identify the Decision Makers STEP 4: Present Your MaterialsSTEP 5: Develop a Plan
CS Starts Here!

Here are the steps to bringing CS to your school or community!


STEP 1: Understand the Landscape
Many teachers and parents think that teaching students how to use technology like Microsoft office or keyboarding is computing education. While these are important skills, they involve using technology, not building it.

Computing education involves the teaching of problem solving, algorithmic thinking, data analysis, and modeling, it emphasizes innovating and building technology. Course examples in the Massachusetts schools include:

  • Exploring Computer Science (ECS)
  • Intro to computer science
  • Web Design
  • Robotics
  • AP CS A
  • Bootstrap
  • Project Lead the Way courses

Can you answer the following questions?
❏ Is computer science (coding) being taught in your school?
❏ Are there clubs and after-school activities to introduce coding to students?
❏ If a computing course is being taught in your community, does it count toward graduation?
❏ If AP CS is being taught, how many students took it and how many passed? How many were Female, Hispanic, or African American?
❏ Is their a career exploration program to introduce students to tech careers?

STEP 2: Build the Case
Now that you have a better understanding of the computing education landscape in your community, you can begin to inform and connect influences in the education system.  Sometimes a simple coffee with a teacher can be a first step.

Make sure your ppt includes (note: most of these items will be included in the template)
Massachusetts fact sheet on computer science education

STEP 3: Identify the Decision Makers
Now that you have a better understanding of the CS landscape in your community, you’ll need to determine who are the influencers and decision makers, they aren’t always the same group or individual.

Call your local school department and ask who makes decisions about classes and curriculum in your community. Other places you should reach out to and get connected include:

  • PTO
  • School Committee
  • Local Legislators
  • STEM district coordinator
Also, reach out to your local CSTA chapter (either Greater Boston Chapter or Western MA Chapter) to see if there is a CS teacher in your community who could join your Distict Advocacy efforts.

Develop your strategy!
❏ Who are the most important influencers in your district?
❏ How are you going to educate them?
❏ Be knowledgeable about significant issues they are dealing with and be prepared to address them. These are the most common reasons administrators may reject computing education:

  • We can’t fit another course into our schedule.
  • I don’t have budget to hire a new teacher.
  • There are not enough computers in the school to support such a class.
❏ What are important dates in your community for decisions being made i.e. when do courses need to be identified and secured?
STEP 4: Present Your Materials
You’ve got your materials ready to go, you know the challenges you may face, you are fired up and ready to bring computing education to your community!

Getting Ready to Present

❏ Less is more: drowning them in stats is not as important as telling the story in a clear
and concise manner. Create a picture of why this is important and ideas on how it could work in your community.
❏ Videos are powerful; grab a video from code.org (use the three minute version)
❏ Be sure to check on the AV and wifi capabilities in the room where you will be presenting and bring handouts just in case!
❏ Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What is the impact of computer science education on student achievement?
  • How will a K-12 comprehensive computer science curriculum prepare students?
  • How does computer science education affect overall achievement across
  • What successful models are out there? What resources are available?
  • What essential teachings and/or standards apply to various grade levels?
  • How do we recognize success? What are the key indicators?
  • What funding sources are available?
  • How will our implementation of a cohesive computer science curriculum educate our students in the importance of being competitive in this age of globalization?
  • Will we improve our current models of teaching and learning by promoting innovation and creativity?
  • Can we truly say that we are preparing students for their future education and their careers if we ignore computer science education?
STEP 5: Develop a Plan
Collaboratively building a strategic plan for implementing computing education in your community is important. It should involve administrators, parents, teachers, students, and industry. You can get help developing this plan by contacting your local CSTA chapter (see links in Step 3) or MassCAN.

Here are some comcepts to get you started:

❏ Review classes currently being taught in your community, their enrollment rates, and their demographics.
❏ Set goals and a timeline i.e. we want all students to take ECS in 9th grade and have 3-5 other options to continue their computing education including 1 robotics, 1 web development, 1 AP CS Principles, etc.
❏ Get educated on PD opportunities for your teachers.
❏ Explore some of the tools teachers can use to teach computing education, as well as after-school and summer programs for your kids.

We must cultivate the computing landscape in Massachusetts,
and drive systemic changes in the way that Massachusetts addresses computing education.
Anyone can help spread the word and this is where you get started!

Would you like a copy of this Toolkit?
Sign up HERE and we’ll send you the PDF when it’s ready in October!

In collaboration with: