Education, Government, and Technology

College leading K-12 computer science teacher training

January 2, 2020
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Kris Pachla.
Kris Pachla. Courtesy GVSU

A local university will lead coordination of Michigan K-12 computer science education under an agreement reached with a curriculum provider.

Grand Valley State University is partnering with Code.org, a nonprofit computer science organization that provides K-12 curriculum and training resources.

The partnership will allow GVSU staff to coordinate annual professional development for up to 1,000 teachers in that discipline, said Kris Pachla, director of the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center.

The partners will be in full operation in May. In the meantime, GVSU will partner with West Shore Educational Service District, which originally developed the statewide program in 2016.

GVSU’s greater capacity and history of running large-scale professional development led to West Shore’s decision to pass the mantle, Pachla said, allowing the Code.org program to develop to the next level.

The new role for GVSU continues an effort to help carry out the mission of the MiSTEM Network, the state initiative to strengthen STEM education.

This summer, GVSU collaborated with the MiSTEM Network on a conference that trained nearly 200 middle school and high school teachers on computer science and coding.

More than 900 educators have gone through the professional development since 2017.

According to Code.org data, 60% of K-12 districts in the state do not have a computer science curriculum. Pachla, also a regional director for MiSTEM, said outreach and growth are crucial to prepare students for digital literacy needs.

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