(August 18, 2016 – Austin, TX) WeTeach_CS, the newly created program developed to increase the number of computer science (CS) educators in Texas, has already made a dramatic impact, adding 100 newly certified CS teachers in Texas since September, 2015. This far exceeds the 14 Texas teachers who completed a CS teacher certification program during the 2014 – 2015 year.
“Sixty percent of all science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) jobs require or involve computing yet only 2% of Texas high school graduates take a CS course primarily because there are so few trained and certified CS teachers,” said Carol Fletcher, Ph.D, deputy director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for STEM Education. “With the WeTeach_CS program’s face-to-face and free online CS certification prep course, the WeTeach_CS Summit event and the WeTeachCS.org website, there is now increased CS professional development (PD) access to every school district in the state, even in the most remote locations. More CS certified teachers equals more access to coding, programming and similar computational skills for Texas students.”
The success of the CS certification program is due, in large part, to the ease and convenience of accessing the certification prep course online prior to taking the TExES CS 8-12 exam. For high school math teacher Aimee Peralta, from far west Texas in Presidio ISD, taking the prep course online meant she avoided the 1,000-mile round trip drive to and from a PD course. “I participated in more than 200 hours of PD through the CS Summit in Austin, the ‘Keep Calm and Java On’ online classes, as well as the STEMpreneurship Teacher Workshop,” said Peralta. “Being able to prepare for the certification exam online was instrumental to accomplish my goal of obtaining CS certification. I am currently the only CS certified teacher in Presidio ISD. There will be others too, I hope. I am grateful to the WeTeach_CS program and have encouraged my colleagues to use the online course for their prep as well.”
The WeTeach_CS program has exceeded expectations in its first year and positions Texas as a leader in the national “CS for All movement.” Goals to continue the program’s success include certifying more teachers in the future by offering the CS certification face-to-face prep course September 8, 9 at the Norris Conference Center in Austin, and the CS certification online prep course registration begins August 23 for the September 9 start date. The WeTeach_CS programs are sponsored by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), coordinated by The University of Texas at Austin Center for STEM Education, along with support from 100Kin10, AT&T and Oracle Academy.