Dear Friends ... Help Our Kids and their Teachers Deliver a 21st-Century Education

CodeVA needs our help. In this the season of giving, I write to ask you to consider a cause I am passionate about, a cause that will not only give back to the community, but one which will give equally to ALL our children and allow us to invest in a brighter future for ALL our children. 

I ask that you to join me in giving the gift of knowledge. Your support -- no matter how small -- will help CodeVA, a nonprofit education and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting Computer Science – coding – literacy in our schools, to train teachers and students.  One of my grandsons, who just turned 8,  took a coding class this past summer and he and his mother each had high praise and enthusiasm for what he learned.  He wants to do it again next summer.

Many of you already give generously to causes promoting literacy in our public schools, or to causes that seek to improve educational outcomes for children in at-risk communities. But even as we’ve all worked diligently on this issue, Computer Science literacy remains a looming education literacy crisis facing our schools and our children.

Computer science literacy is not just the ability to be a digital consumer, but to be a digital creator with know-how to make that technology do new things. 

It is a literacy that desperately needs our attention to ensure prosperity for our children, our economy and for Virginia. 

Why give now? 
  • Currently, less than one percent of Virginia’s children are taught this essential literacy in our schools.
  • Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of jobs in fields like science, banking, technology, engineering – even jobs in that arts and retail sectors – are computer science jobs.
  • These jobs are nearly unattainable without computer science literacy. Currently in Virginia, there are tens of thousands of jobs in all sectors of our economy left unfilled – or filled by foreign workers imported from other countries. 
  •  Other nations, like England, much of Europe, India and China, where computer science literacy is taught from kindergarten through graduation. 
CodeVA is a new nonprofit that I firmly believe in. Founded just last year, but already registered as 501c3 nonprofit organization, CodeVA already is having a profound impact on statewide education policy, and on doing the hard work of putting teachers in our classrooms with the knowledge to teach computer science.

At the heart of this organization are my friends, Chris and Rebecca Dovi. Chris and Rebecca both come from backgrounds where they’ve established their commitment to making education better for our kids. Rebecca served as a Computer Science teacher and national expert on Computer Science curriculum for nearly two decades before co-founding CodeVA.

Last year, CodeVA partnered with Richmond Public Schools and other area school districts, committing to training 28 new high school computer science teachers. Remarkably, that number adds more than half again to the number of high school computer science teachers that existed statewide the previous year.

As of this school year, there are now computer science classes available at ALL of Richmond Public Schools’ comprehensive high schools. And by next year, Henrico County will boast the same. Also coming next year – with your support – CodeVA will train dozens more teachers to teach a new Advanced Placement computer science course.

And this is not just about high school literacy. Bellevue Elementary, an at-risk school in Richmond’s Church Hill, where the majority of students live at or below the poverty level, partnered with CodeVA last year in a single classroom. 

When Ms. Richardson, the 2nd classroom teacher who piloted the program compared her end-of-year scores with other teachers at the school, she discovered something remarkable: double-digit gains in math and science scores. Two students never before testing as anything more than average had moved up into the Gifted and Talented program. And most remarkable of all, Ms. Richardson says her students, on average, showed 20-percent gains in Language Arts.

Why? The answer is that Computer Science is about more than computers. Computer Science is computational thinking – it is logical thinking. It teaches processing and problem solving – and comprehension.

These amazing results and statistics are just some of the reasons why I support CodeVA.  I am not alone in this regard.  President Barack Obama, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton all support computer science education.  

CodeVA is the only organization of its kind in Virginia, doing the hard work of making computer science more than an after-school or summer program accessible to only a few.

CodeVa believes anyone can code and every Virginia child should.  As the December 31st deadline for non-profit 501-C3 tax credits for charitable contributions draws nearer, please consider making a gift – the gift that will keep giving for years to come, and to all children of Central Virginia and across the Commonwealth – to CodeVA.

Sincerely yours,
Carol A.O. Wolf