Today, Google announced it will give $400,000 to the University of Washington (UW) College of Education’s Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) Computer Science (CS) Program. The unrestricted gift will grow the new STEP CS program and subsidize the tuition of teacher candidates from groups that are underrepresented in CS – Black+, Latinx+, Native American+, Pacific Islander and/or students with disabilities, and those who identify as women, trans and/or non-binary. The program has a goal of raising $1 million, and Google is the first company to help the UW’s College of Education reach that goal.
The STEP CS program is part of the University of Washington's top-ranked Teacher Education Programs. Pre-service teacher candidates who graduate from the STEP CS program earn a Master in Teaching degree, with a residency teacher certificate for middle or high school teaching in computer science. Additionally, in-service teachers looking for deeper preparation in CS pedagogy and to pursue the state’s CS endorsement also participate in the program. The one-year program is an interdisciplinary effort between the UW’s College of Education, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and Information School to create a secondary CS teacher education pathway for Washington state.
We've designed STEP CS to be playful, joyful and restorative — to demonstrate how CS learning and teaching can be all of those things.
“We’ve designed STEP CS to be playful, joyful and restorative — to demonstrate how CS learning and teaching can be all of those things,” said Amy J. Ko, PhD, professor at the Information School, adjunct professor at the Allen School and co-founder of the program with Anne Beitlers, associate teaching professor in the College of Education. “By enrolling in and completing this program, our teachers will guide the next generation of students to navigate their computer science learning journey in a more equity-driven and justice-centered way. We’re grateful for Google’s gift and invite others to join us.”
This investment comes during an extremely important time for Washington state’s education system. Recent legislation in Washington requires each school district that operates a high school to provide access to a CS course to all high school students beginning in the 2022 school year. According to data from CS for All Washington, 87% of all CS teachers in Washington state in 2021 were white men or women. Without equitable access to skilling, the state won’t have enough qualified teachers to provide CS courses.
“Students thrive when they see their background reflected in their teachers,” said Mia Tuan, dean of the UW College of Education. “With this gift to the College of Education’s STEP CS program, Google is enabling a more representative computer science educator workforce in Washington and beyond. This remarkable program ensures that there will be more teachers equipped to teach computer science in an equity-centered way — which is critical for the future success of students of color.”
The first-ever STEP CS Program 2021-22 teacher cohort graduated in spring 2022.
“Google is proud to support programs like the University of Washington STEP CS Program,” said Ian Goodhew, Google’s Head of Government & Public Affairs for the Pacific Northwest. “Investing in the growth and diversification of the computer science teacher workforce in Washington is critical to empowering the future workers and leaders of the technology industry.”
Jackson Holtz, Public Information Officer, University of Washington News, email@example.com
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