Attendees of any WeTeach_CS event or presentation are familiar with the statistic that in 2014-15 only 14 participants in pre-service programs were certified to teacher Computer Science in Texas. Knowing that this was too few to begin closing the CS course gap in Texas high schools, the Center for STEM Education at The University of Texas at Austin took on the task of helping to add more CS teachers to classrooms across the state. Having over 20 years experience providing professional development to Texas teachers through its Texas Regional Collaboratives (TRC) program, the Center for STEM Education created WeTeach_CS to help prepare currently certified teachers to take and pass the TExES CS 8-12 certification exam.
WeTeach_CS began by offering 2-Day Certification Prep workshops in the fall of 2015, adding an online preparation course, now called Foundations of Computer Science for Teachers, in June of 2016. Providing teachers with the knowledge and confidence necessary to take on CS certification formed only one part of the plan. With support from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and 100Kin10, WeTeach_CS also instituted the Certification Incentive Program (CIP) in 2016 to incentivize teachers to pursue CS certification with a $1000 stipend.
With this two-pronged program in place, over the summer of 2017, WeTeach_CS reached an important milestone with the certification of its 300th teacher.
The 300th certification belongs to Sandra Sexton, a teacher at Utopia ISD who teaches algebra, calculus, graphic design, computer science, and web design. Since Sexton teaches in a small rural district with only a few hundred students, the only way her district could offer computer science classes was to become certified herself. Schools in rural areas often have a harder time recruiting computer science teachers, compared to urban and suburban districts.
“I had a small group of students that wanted to learn about computer science last year. We even started a University Interscholastic League Computer Science Team for them, placing 5th at State last year. One of the students was a junior and wanted to continue taking computer science classes his senior year. So, I decided to get certified to be able to offer that for him and for others,” says Sexton. –Continue reading full article
Sandra’s story is similar to that of many teachers from around the state who, upon seeing that there was a need for CS courses in their school, have stepped up to achieve CS certification in order to provide an important opportunity to their students.
As happy as we are about reaching this milestone, WeTeach_CS is not content to rest on its laurels, as we have recently upped our CS certification number to 385 and are looking forward to passing both the 400 and 500 certification milestones.
Are you certified?
If you’re a currently certified Texas educator who would like to add CS certification to your resume, then start your CS certification journey today! The fall session of our online, self-paced certification prep course, Foundations of Computer Science for Teachers, just started and the Certification Incentive Program (CIP) has recently been expanded to cover all certification testing windows during the 2017-18 school year.