RD472 - CodeVA 2020-2021 State Report

Executive Summary:

CodeVA is a state-funded, Virginia-based nonprofit that partners with schools, parents, and communities to bring equitable computer science education to all of Virginia's students. All of CodeVA’s programs, services and curricular resources are provided at no cost to Virginia public school divisions and teachers, with a focus on creating equitable access to the resources that school divisions need to implement the Virginia Computer Science Standards of Learning.. Founded in 2013 as a response to a dual critical shortage of computer science educators and computer science workforce, CodeVA’s work with students, parents, teachers, school districts, industry partners and policymakers is statewide in scope and impact. CodeVA’s objectives are to train Virginia’s educators in how to teach computer science and computational thinking, and to broaden participation among minoritized students and underrepresented groups in STEM+C (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science). Demand from Virginia’s various industries reliant on computer science is for increased participation among females, as well as Black and Latino students. CodeVA advances these goals through a multifaceted approach including public advocacy and awareness, funded research programs, public educator training programs and curriculum development, and direct student programs.

Virginia has thus far maintained its leadership in policy and implementation of K-12 CS - an important distinction and accomplishment nationally, considering the growing competitiveness among states to attract high-tech employers and entrepreneurs. In 2018, partly on the strength of its K-12 CS commitment, as stated in the Virginia Computer Science Standards of Learning (law adopted in 2016), Virginia became Amazon’s choice for its HQ2. The tech giant is not alone in expressing a keen interest in early workforce development and CS literacy to Virginia government and economic development leaders, as Microsoft, Facebook, and other technology leaders seek to add data centers and hubs in the state because of the state’s investment in computer science education. CodeVA’s mission is to foster a sustainable and effective computer science educator ecosystem within Virginia’s schools, by providing professional development and coaching to teachers statewide. Our work continues to grow and reach new participants, despite a year of unprecedented challenges created by the continuing global pandemic and its many consequences for public educators.

During the 2020 - 2021 school year, to adapt to evolving Covid-19 restrictions, CodeVA re-platformed 1,200 hours of educator-facing content instruction from in-person to online to continue to provide equitable access to computer science education for educators statewide. Replatforming professional learning online necessitated hundreds of more hours of faculty-facing content and instruction to make sure all of CodeVA’s faculty was brought up to speed on effective online delivery of planned professional development. This switch to a virtual environment allowed for the expansion of asynchronous learning opportunities where educators could work both collaboratively and on their own at their discretion. Virtual classroom environments also allowed CodeVA to offer a wider array of professional learning opportunities in response to teacher requests for more hands-on coding experience and understanding of how to blend and integrate the Virginia Computer Science SOL’s across content areas.