In an effort to increase the number of certified computer science teachers in Texas, a free online version of the WeTeach_CS Certification Prep (http://thetrc.org/cert-prep/) course is launching June 14. (Registration is open.) Directed to K-12 teachers, the course is designed to improve competencies for the 141 TExES Texas Education Agency’s 8-12 Computer Science Certification Test. After a teacher passes and applies for the certification, a $1,000 stipend will be awarded by the TRC thanks to support from 100Kin10 and the Texas Education Agency (TEA). (Funding is limited, and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants should check their eligibility for certification prior to registration and be sure to read all application instructions prior to applying for the stipend. ) AT&T supported the development of the online program with a $50,000 contribution through AT&T Aspire – its signature philanthropic initiative to help ensure students have the skills needed to succeed in the current and future workforce.
“Computer literacy is no longer optional,” said Carol Fletcher, Ph.D, deputy director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for STEM Education. “Sixty percent of all STEM jobs require or involve computing yet only two percent of Texas high school graduates take a CS course. By 2020 there will be one million more computing jobs in America than graduates to fill them. Texas high schools are required to offer CS, but in the 2014 school year less than 15 percent met that requirement and only 14 teachers completed a CS certification program in Texas. This online course will be freely available to any Texas educator, thus bringing CS teacher professional development to every school district in the state.”
WeTeach_CS Certification Prep is a comprehensive, six-week program that prepares teachers to take and pass the CS certification test. It reviews all of the main concepts covered in the three certification domains: Software Design and Development, Programming Language topics, and Technology Applications. Teachers with at least some prior experience in coding or programming interested in becoming certified to teach Grades 8-12 Computer Science are eligible to attend. This certification is necessary to teach courses such as Computer Science I, II or III, Fundamentals of Computer Science, or AP Computer Science A. Course instructors will address several competencies in-depth and link attendees to additional resources that will help prepare them for the challenging CS certification test. For more information, please e-mail WeTeachCS@austin.utexas.edu.