And Announces New Partners to Advance Computer Education in Schools
“The highest priority for us as a school district, is to ensure every child in Newark Public Schools, has full and uninterrupted access to the tools to prepare for college and career,” said Roger León, Superintendent of Newark Schools. “One of the most important tools for our students is for them to be knowledgeable in computational thinking and computer science theory and implementation, for whatever career they choose.”
Technology and innovation are some of the key driving forces behind our economic growth and there are currently over 500,000 available computing jobs, although fewer than 15 percent of graduates from U.S. colleges have an information services or computer science degrees to fill them. Furthermore, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of computing jobs will continue to grow to approximately 4.6 million in just two years by 2020. Despite the great need to meet the growing demand of computer science careers, there is stark inequity in access and enrollment to computer science in K12 education nationally for underrepresented minorities and females.
The Superintendent said, this year’s district-wide participation in the Hour of Code serves to provide a hands-on introduction to coding but more importantly serves to kick-off the school district’s broader commitment to meet this need and ensure every student receives a computer science education to learn the fundamental knowledge and essential skills critical for future success.
To help support this work, the Newark Board of Education has established strategic collaborations with a number of organizations, businesses and universities; including the Microsoft Philanthropic-funded Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program which provides curriculum and teacher training, co-teaching, and mentoring for several of our high schools, which we will be expanding in a district-wide partnership next year to build robust Computer Science (CS) offerings in NPS high schools.
Additionally, NPS has established partnerships with Apple and the Rutgers-Newark Office of University-Community Partnership, to build and support CS offerings.
NPS students are also participating in a number of after-school and Saturday programs including the FIRST Robotics program currently in 30 schools where students compete in regional and State-level robotics competitions across the State.
Also, the Newark Kids Code Saturday program, led by the Urban League of Essex County in collaboration with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), will expand from 3 to 10 schools, and the after-school Girls Who Code program, designed to increase the number of girls with CS experience and knowledge, will be offered in 24 schools for middle school-aged students starting in Spring 2019.