Posted by Jared Amalong, Julie Flapan, and Roxana Hadad on Sep 12, 2019

Teachers watching a presentation at CSPD week

California is the world’s fifth-largest economy, and the information/technology sector being the largest contributor to its GDP growth in the last 10 years (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2018; CompTIA, 2019).

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The Need and The Summer of CS Solution 
California is the world’s fifth-largest economy, and the information/technology sector being the largest contributor to its GDP growth in the last 10 years (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2018; CompTIA, 2019). Yet, this growth-and the related labor market demands-are not reflected in K-12 schools across the state. Just 39 percent of high schools in California offer CS courses, and only 1 in 4 rural schools in the state offer CS courses (Scott et al., 2019). Systemic issues including disparities in school funding, resources, and teacher training complicate the scaling of equitable and sustainable CS education (Darling-Hammond, 2004; Margolis et al., 2017). Research demonstrates that quality teaching can be promoted through professional development (PD) experiences that include content knowledge, are sustained over long periods of time, have a connection to a larger goal, and support a strong professional community that includes other stakeholders (Darling-Hammond & Richardson, 2009; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001; Ryoo, Goode & Margolis, 2016).
The Summer of CS, a CS PD week hosted by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and CSforCA, aimed to address these disparities. Held at SCOE during the week of June 17, 2019, Summer of CS created a regional PD experience that allowed for participants from the Sacramento area and other regions in California to participate as a community in expanding CS education, at no cost. Organized by educators for educators, this structure made quality PD available to smaller districts and counties in Northern California and beyond-areas that would normally struggle to gather the resources and assemble a cohort of educators for a quality CS PD experience. 
To respond to the systemic nature of CS education implementation, the Summer of CS had offerings not just for teachers, but also for counselors and administrators. Districts were encouraged to bring teams of these three stakeholders to the event, and a luncheon panel of various stakeholders highlighted the need for conversations among policymakers, industry, researchers, and education professionals. 
6-5-4-3-2-1: Summer of CS by The Numbers
The Summer of CS was anchored by the six workshops it offered: Elementary 4 CS (CS Fundamentals and CS First), CS Discoveries, Exploring CS, CS Principles, Counselors for Computing, and the CSforCA CS Administrator Workshop. The Administrator Workshop was developed by district/county leaders throughout the state in collaboration with CSforCA. During the Administrator Workshop, site and district administrators discussed the current state of CS education equity in California; examined biases and the challenges they posed; collaboratively brainstormed responses to challenges of implementation using the CS Equity Guide as a resource; and developed action plans to take back to their local schools and districts.
The PD week was five days long, with single-day workshop offerings for counselors and administrators, and a two-day workshop for elementary instructors. SCOE and CSforCA hosted four community-building events, in which participants attended a minor league baseball game, shared breakfast over a Lego activity, competed against each other in bowling matches, and worked together in escape rooms. This built community among the various workshops and the three groups of participating stakeholders: teachers, counselors, and administrators. In total, close to 200 (2 hundred) members of the education community participated. In exit surveys, a significant number of reporting attendees agreed or strongly agreed that:
  • Summer of CS helped them develop more knowledge about CS education (94%).
  • Summer of CS was a beneficial PD opportunity to interact with other educational stakeholders (91%).
  • Summer of CS social events helped them feel part of a community of CS educators and advocates (93% of those who were able to participate).
In all, the success of Summer of CS was due to a big team having 1 unified vision to broaden student participation in CS education by supporting the teachers, counselors, and administrators leading the way.
By the numbers: 
1 unified vision 
2 hundred participating educators 
3 Key stakeholder groups 
4 community building events 
5 days 
6 workshops
The Power of Partnerships 
As the educators involved in planning the Summer of CS discovered, taking on an endeavor like the Summer of CS is a team effort. The Summer of CS was made possible through partnerships with the CSTA Sacramento Chapter, Microsoft, UCLA,, Exploring CS, NCWIT and Google CS First and a generous grant from the National Science Foundation. These partners provided support in the planning, evaluation, and offering of resources. Having dedicated staff that shares a vision and focuses on details results in an event that treats educators as they deserve to be treated-as experts and professionals. 
For more information visit Summer of CS. If you are interested in planning your own remixed CSPDWeek like the Summer of CS, be sure to visit the Summer of CS Wiki.
Additional resources
Interested in Hosting a State or Regional CSPdWeek? Form
CompTIA (2018). Cyberstates: California. 
Darling-Hammond, L. (2004). Inequality and the right to learn: Access to qualified teachers in California’s public schools. Teachers College Record, 106(10), 1936-1966.
Darling-Hammond, L., & Richardson, N. (2009). Research review/teacher learning: What matters. Educational leadership, 66(5), 46-53.
Margolis, J., Estrella, E., Goode, G., Holme, J. J., & Nao, K. (2017). Stuck in the shallow end: Race, education, and computing.
McLaughlin, M. W., & Talbert, J. E. (2001). Professional communities and the work of high school teaching. University of Chicago Press.
Jean Ryoo, Joanna Goode & Jane Margolis (2016): It takes a village: supporting inquiry- and equity-oriented computer science pedagogy through a professional learning community, Computer Science Education, DOI: 10.1080/08993408.2015.1130952.
Scott, A., Koshy, S., Rao, M., Hinton, L., Flapan, J., Martin, A., & McAlear, F. (2019). Computer science in California’s schools: An analysis of access, enrollment, and equity.
US Bureau of Economic Analysis. (2018). Gross domestic product.
About the Authors
Jared Amalong is a Career and Technical Education Coordinator at the Sacramento County Office of Education, where he supports middle and high school computer science (CS) teachers and administrators from 24 school districts located in the seven-county Greater Sacramento Region. Jared was appointed to the California Department of Education CS Standards Advisory Council, where he helped develop the forthcoming K-12 CS standards. 
Dr. Julie Flapan is Executive Director of the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS) and the CSforCA project where she advocates for K-12 CS education in California to ensure its accessibility to all students, especially girls, students of color, and low-income students. She also serves as Director of the CS Project at UCLA’s Center X where she conducts research and works closely with practitioners to inform statewide policy. 
Roxana Hadad is Associate Director of the CS Equity Project at UCLA’s Center X. She works with practitioners across California to conduct research and develop professional development that ensures the scalability, equity, and long-term sustainability of CS education.