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Chicago Public Schools Celebrates Computer Science EdWeek 2021 with a slate of scheduled events

07 December 2021

CSEdWeek Events December 6-9 to Highlight Advances in District Computer Science Education

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is partnering with Google in an annual call to action during CSEd Week (Dec. 6 -12) to inspire students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners such as CafeCS that support this important field of study.

CSEdWeek 2021 features virtual events for educators, policymakers, students, and families, including classroom lesson plans for teachers,  a coding event in collaboration with The Hour of Code, and additional online events like a Panel Discussion with CS Heros and information on how to Build Your Own CS Advo-Kit, where teachers can expose students to computer science advocacy. 

“The field of computer science is multi-faceted and ever evolving and this week allows us to highlight the great work of our CPS teachers, students and partners in this field,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “CPS has long been a leader in pushing for more equity and representation in the tech world and Computer Science EdWeek 2021 celebrates the ongoing work and allows more students to engage in it first hand.” 

Districtwide events include the following:

  • How Did I Get Here! A virtual panel of District Alumni including James Luoug (Lane Tech) talking about their jobs in technology working at Google and other tech companies at noon Dec 8.
  • Careers in CS! Add robotics and gaming to ways to get to a career and college! A CPS and Google virtual panel for District parents at 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8, in Spanish language and 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, and Dec. 9 in English.

  • First Lego League Competition for District students in upper elementary and middle school at Lindblom Math & Science Academy at 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. 

High school and elementary school teachers across the District are also planning events in their schools and classrooms.

In 2008, a small group of CPS educators came together to advocate for the growth of computer science education in Chicago. Through the District’s Computer Science 4 All (CS4All) movement -- the first of its kind in the nation -- the initiative has grown into a full-fledged Office of Computer Science (OCS) at CPS. As OCS has grown, CPS has emerged as a national leader in computer science education, partnering with innovators in Los Angeles to adopt its paradigm-shifting curriculum Exploring Computer Science to ensure that graduates can thrive in a digital world. As of 2021, CPS has trained more than 1,000 teachers and put computer science in every CPS high school and more than 225 elementary schools.

Since CPS made the landmark decision in 2016 to require students to take a computer science course to graduate, CPS has partnered with the Chicago Alliance for Equity in Computer Science (CAFÉCS) with computer science professionals working side-by-side with the District to support teachers and promote high-quality high school computer science programs and education. To date,  more than 65,000 CPS students have received computer science training.

“Right now, more than ever, we need events like CSEdWeek, CPS-sponsored programming, and organizations like CAFÉCS to educate and train the next generation of computer science professionals to grow the pipeline of skilled workers, ” said Dr. Steven McGee, CAFÉCS research director. “Like CSEdWeek, CPS and CAFÉCS are also working to bridge not only the job gap but the equity gap in computer science education.”

In 2024, experts expect there will be a surplus of one million open computer science jobs without trained workers to fill them. Not only is there an employment gap, but there’s also an equity gap. A 2019 study by David McCandless showed less than five percent of workers in the tech departments of companies such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are Black and the numbers are only slightly higher for Latinx employees at those companies. And a 2017 study authored by the University of Chicago and ScienceDaily says Black teens create more online content than any other racial group.

For more information and to register for Computer Science EdWeek 2021 events, please visit