About 50 K-12 computer science educators in Utah were selected to join the Utah CS Equity Cohort, to further develop their knowledge and ability to address inequities in CS. About 40 educators are on track to complete the robust professional development (PD) program between January and August 2023. This program uses a hybrid approach to PD, with asynchronous, online work and live community of practice meetings facilitated by other Utah teacher leaders. Cohort members grow as effective and inclusive teachers and equity-focused leaders in their communities.
- Works in Utah
- Current K-12 teacher who teaches or integrates computer science
OR: another educator role who works closely with K-12 computer science teachers
- Willingness and ability to meet the responsibilities listed above
- Interest in developing one’s own equity-related knowledge/skills
- Ability to critically self-reflect
- Recognizes the presence of inequities in K-12 computer science impacting one or more marginalized groups including: female and non-binary students; Black, Latinx, and Native students; English language learners; and students with disabilities
PD specifically seeks to improve the inclusive teaching practices and equitable outcomes of CS teachers in Utah. This is needed given the equity issues outlined in the Utah Computer Science Education Master Plan (see p. 34). This PD will address many of the recommendations (pp. 34-36), especially #6: “Identify and implement successful strategies for increasing diversity in K-12 CS education.” Participants learn how to create equitable and inclusive CS classrooms, develop a close and connected community of Utah educators committed to disrupting inequities, and showcase teachers who successfully model equitable teaching practices. As part of the program benefits, participants attend the CSTA Annual Conference and become CSTA+ members for ongoing professional development and community.
- Sept. – Nov. 2022: Revised curriculum. Developed schedule and confirmed program logistics.
- Nov. – Dec. 2022: Identified and trained two facilitators who are experienced CS teachers and equity-focused PD facilitators in Utah. Launched application and promoted widely.
- Jan. 2023: Selected 54 participants. Held virtual orientation meetings to kickoff the program.
- Feb. – June 2023: Each month, participants complete about 2 hours of asynchronous work in an online PD course prior to joining a live, 1.5-hour community of practice meeting, where they collaboratively process the content, share best practices, and engage in courageous conversations about equity issues impacting their communities. Participants develop an action plan to implement in their classrooms next fall.
- July 2023: Participants attend the CSTA Annual Conference along with a colleague, joining sessions aligned to their action plans, plus in-person, local meetups to build community.
- Aug. 2023: Participants build community while sharing their action plans, what they learned, and other best practices at an in-person program close-out.
We selected 54 participants, which represented an experienced (average of 11 years teaching experience, 5 years of CS teaching experience) and diverse group of CS educators across Utah:
- gender: 63% are women, 35% are men.
- race: 85% are white, 7% are Latinx, 4% are Asian, 4% are Indigenous or Native Hawaiian.
- role: 87% directly teach CS (most also teach other subjects), 13% train/support CS teachers.
- grades: 46% teach elementary, 50% teach grades 6-8, 46% teach high school (9-12).
71% of participants teach in public schools. They represent 15 different school districts, in addition to 7 public charter schools and 3 private schools. 87% teach high concentrations of one or more marginalized student populations (e.g., 26% teach in a rural community, 44% teach at a Title I school or where >40% students are from low-income families). View an interactive directory.
What Teachers Want to Learn
Participants have a strong commitment to disrupt inequities and a desire to learn best practices:
- “I want to learn about the key equity issues in CS, so I can use the knowledge and skills to be part of the change that must take place. I want to learn how to address the inequities in CS, also with this knowledge and understanding, I can use it to help change.”
- “I would love to have resources and ideas to help encourage students who traditionally have not participated in Computer Science. What can I do as the teacher to encourage these students to take these classes? How can I help them feel successful so they want to continue?”
- “Many of the students that struggle the most in my school are Latinx, and I really want to help understand this issue more and be a part of the solution.”
We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants in monthly surveys:
- 98% reported satisfaction
- 100% reported a safe and welcoming environment
- 95% feel more connected to a teacher community
- 88% increased their knowledge of equitable and inclusive teaching
- 78% reported concrete takeaways to apply to their teaching practice
Please direct questions and communications to UtahCSEquity@csteachers.org.