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Aligning Our Program with the CSTA Standards

Increasing the availability of Computer Science offerings for all students, especially those who are members of underrepresented groups, is going to require an "all hands on deck" approach. Ensuring all students are exposed to the highest-quality curriculum and experiences can be realized if we commit to aligning our programs to the CSTA Computer Science Standards.

When Gary Beach founded TECH CORPS almost 20 years ago, he had a belief that technology professionals could be a tremendous resource to schools if they could be effectively connected. In 1995, TECH CORPS was launched to be that connector, and since that time more than 10,000 technology professionals in the U.S. have shared their time and talents assisting schools with technology-related projects.

Early TECH CORPS projects focused on hardware, from wiring schools to setting up computer labs, but fast forward to today and a majority of our TECH CORPS projects and programs now focus on providing students with access to the technology competencies they need to be successful in the classroom today and workforce tomorrow.

As technical innovation plays an increasingly critical role in virtually every sector of the US economy, young people entering the marketplace without the necessary technical skills will not only be unemployable, they will be irrelevant in our global economy. TECH CORPS is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for students by providing high-quality, experiential learning opportunities in the areas of computer science and information technology.

It is that dedication that led to the creation of Techie Club. Techie Club includes 40+ hours of hands-on, interactive activities for 3rd through 6th grade students. The lessons focus on a variety of computing topics, promote 21st century skills and provide students with an awareness of technology and STEM-related careers. Over the course of a school year, teams of TECH CORPS volunteers deliver the lessons to groups of up to 20 elementary school students.

When CSTA released the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards in 2011, our staff was interested to see how our Techie Club lessons aligned. After a couple of very productive working sessions with the CSTA team we started mapping our curriculum to the standards using the curriculum crosswalk template. I am extremely proud to say that not only did our lessons meet the CS Standards for the Level I 3-6 grade band but some also aligned with the Level II 6-9 grade band as well.

CSTA encourages districts and states to demonstrate that their curricula align to the learning standards detailed in the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards. I encourage all informal education organizations creating materials or delivering programs to support K-12 Computer Science education do the same.

Lisa M. Chambers
National Executive Director
TECH CORPS

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