CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia is among the top 10 states nationwide to offer foundational computer science (CS) courses to public school students. This according to the annual State of Computer Science Education: Accelerating Action through Advocacy report released today by Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance. More public schools in the state are offering students greater access to this growing and important pathway, the report details.
According to the report, 76% of public high schools in West Virginia offered foundational computer science courses last year, a significant increase over the past three years when only 46% of schools provided these courses in the 2018 – 2019 school year.
Additionally, 87% of West Virginia students attended a high school with at least one CS course. The progress is attributed to adopting and following a five-year plan that includes active advocacy, policy updates, professional development offerings and statewide support for computer science education.
As the agency partner to the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), West Virginia University’s (WVU) Center for Excellence in STEM Education has developed a robust structure for the expansion of computer science education in the state. Since summer 2018, the CodeWV program housed at WVU has reached 875 teachers in 52 of the state’s 55 counties. Sessions are free-of-charge and educators often participate in multiple trainings.
“West Virginia recognized years ago the need to increase access to computer science among our K-12 students, and today’s report reflects our consistent efforts to prepare students for the economies of today and tomorrow,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “We will continue to work with our Governor, legislators and higher education partners to maintain our focus on the importance of these courses while encouraging students to take advantage of these offerings.”
West Virginia is a pioneer in creating a computer science K-12 pathway for all students. Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 267 in 2019, which charged the WVDE with reaching all public-school students with computer science. This law makes the Mountain State one of the first to require all students to start their CS education in elementary school and be exposed to a variety of CS experiences throughout their K-12 career.
Additionally, with the adoption of computer science standards, the West Virginia Board of Education ensured all K-12 students have access to a developmentally appropriate level of computer science education every year. The work continues among the coalition of partners to ensure families and students understand the opportunities available through computer science and participate fully in the courses offered.