Continuing their commitment to excellence in science, technology, engineering and math education, the University of New Hampshire announced its selection as a Code.org regional partner. Code.org is a nationwide network that supports efforts to expand access to computer science in K-12 schools. The STEM Teachers' Collaborative at the University of New Hampshire and the STEM Discovery Lab at UNH Manchester have partnered with the N.H. High Technology Council’s CS4NH advisory group to bring the Code.org partnership to UNH.
The Code.org regional partnership will provide high-quality professional development to educators in New Hampshire through local district partnerships and by building a positive local community of computer science educators. Additionally, UNH will partner with the N.H. Department of Education to work with school administrators and guidance counselors to plan for expanding computer science education throughout the state.
“We are thrilled to become a Code.org regional partner in collaboration with CS4NH so that all New Hampshire teachers will have access to high-quality professional development in computer science,” said STEM Teachers’ Collaborative director Laura Nickerson. “New Hampshire has nearly 1,200 computing jobs open, but only graduates approximately 400 computer science majors each year. We must prepare teachers so that students from diverse backgrounds have access to computer science early on in their academic careers, well before the collegiate level. This is a workforce development issue, as well as a diversity issue.”
“It is imperative that we break the stereotype that computer science is for geeky high school or college guys, glued to their computers and typing endlessly in some programming language. Computer science is for everyone at every grade level," says Mihaela Sabin, chair of the Department of Applied Engineering and Sciences at UNH-Manchester.
The Code.org regional partner program aligns with priorities at the federal and state level. "It is through public-private partnerships like this initiative that plans to include computer science curricula in all schools become reality," says N.H. State Representative Terry Wolf, vice-chair of the House Education Committee. Rep. Wolf notes that there is bipartisan support in the New Hampshire Legislature to move forward with STEM and computer science education.
“Computer science education is a top priority at the national and state level, and this partnership provides critical resources to help implement our new policies, including our new computer science educator certification and K-12 computer science standards, which are currently being developed,” says David Benedetto, director of STEM and computer science education at the N.H. Department of Education.
“We are excited to work with UNH as a regional partner,” said Hadi Partovi, founder of Code.org, “With their dedicated programs that extend beyond professional development and into building community support, we have no doubt UNH will drive new awareness and expansion of computer science education in New Hampshire.”
The STEM Teachers’ Collaborative is part of the Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education and is generously supported by Albany International. The STEM Discovery Lab is a partnership between the University of New Hampshire Manchester and UNH Cooperative Extension and is supported in part by The Agnes M. Lindsay Trust and the Norwin S. & Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation.