Here's WHY CodeVa Matters ...



CodeVA (www.codevirginia.org), a nonprofit education and advocacy organization that promotes Computer Science – coding – literacy in our schools. 


Many of you 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 looming education literacy crisis facing our schools and our children that few of us know about.

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.

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. 
With computer science literacy, our children will be competitive with other nations, like England, much of Europe, India and China, where computer science literacy is taught from kindergarten through graduation.

And our community will have the knowledge to compete 
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 a high school literacy. Bellevue Elementary, an at-risk school in Richmond’s Church Hill, where the majority of students live below poverty level, partnered with CodeVA last year in a single classroom. When Ms. Richardson, the 2nd classroom teacher piloting 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’m such a supporter of CodeVA. Another is because 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 is making Computer Science literacy for all.I am illiterate. There, I said it. And so, very likely, are you.  
The sooner we face that fact, the sooner we can do something about it.

What if I told you that today, right now and in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nearly 100 percent of the population is illiterate? You and I — and nearly everyone else — lack basic literacy skills necessary in the modern economy we’ve built.
And what if you were to discover that your children and our future likely will be no better off if we don’t do something about this critical problem very soon?
In fact, what if you knew that your tax dollars paid for schools where 99 percent of students are actually denied basic literacy skills, and only the most elite students are given access to classes where literacy skills are taught?
These statistics are not science fiction. They’re compiled by national nonprofit Code.org, and they capture a very real and very disturbing snapshot of the prevalence — or lack thereof — of computer science courses in the nation’s public schools.
Obviously, the literacy I write about is digital literacy.
Less obvious is that digital literacy is not already prevalent in our public schools. Digital literacy — in spite of what we’re told at our kids’ back-to-school nights — is not the ability to use a mouse or to design a PowerPoint presentation or manipulate an Excel spreadsheet.
All of theses skills are computer-relevant, but they’re not STEM literacy.
Computer Science is the literacy of STEM, the literacy of the future — of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It’s today’s modern chemistry lab. It is the aeronautical engineer’s wind tunnel. It’s how international banks let you keep track of your cash. It’s how your car works. It’s how your grandma’s pacemaker works. It’s how your phone works.
Nearly 70 percent of all STEM jobs are computer-science jobs. And the other 30 percent of STEM jobs require a basic working knowledge of computer science.
Teaching science or engineering in high school — or even in college — without also providing a firm foundation in computer science is a bit like teaching high school-level literature courses or journalism classes or history classes without the benefit of learning to read and write.


Teaching Computer Coding in K-12


Image from code.org.Where can you go to find— in one place— Arne Duncan, Mark Zuckerberg, Marco Rubio, Stephen Hawking, and Snoop Dogg agreeing with each other? Not sure? Now add into the mix Dr. Oz, Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg. Give up?
The answer is the overflowing, impressive testimonial page on CODE.org, a new nonprofit created to promote the teaching of computer coding into America’s schools. 

Founded by Hadi Partovi, CODE.org shines a light on 21st century society’s need for computer scientists and programmers.  According to stats on the CODE.org website, 90 percent of American schools currently don’t offer coding while, by 2020, there will be about a million more computer jobs than computer science students. Partovi aims to connect engineers with schools and to help educators bring computer programming to their classrooms.
The linchpin of the awareness campaign is a short video featuring Zuckerberg, Will.i.am, NBA All-Star Chris Bosh and a host of other tech leaders and trendsetters. The video, directed by Lesley Chilcott, a producer of An Inconvenient Truth, portrays learning to code as fun, not exceptionally difficult, and the gateway to a creative, fulfilling career. Released February 26, it has already accumulated over 9 million views.
The moment for this is now. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is a priority area for our country. In 2010, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a report entitled Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education for STEM and America’s Futurewhich claimed:
The success of the United States in the 21st century—its wealth and welfare—will depend on the ideas and skills of its population. These have always been the Nation’s most important assets. As the world becomes increasingly technological, the value of these national assets will be determined in no small measure by the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. STEM education will determine whether the United States will remain a leader among nations…“
Through CODE.org, Hadi Partovi is rightly asserting the need to include the teaching in K-12 schools of computer science amongst the critical STEM disciplines. As the PCAST report makes clear, the stakes are high. And if you don’t trust that, just listen to Bill Clinton and Ashton Kutcher.




BY CHRIS DOVI

I am illiterate. There, I said it. And so, very likely, are you.
The sooner we face that fact, the sooner we can do something about it.
What if I told you that today, right now and in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nearly 100 percent of the population is illiterate? You and I — and nearly everyone else — lack basic literacy skills necessary in the modern economy we’ve built.
And what if you were to discover that your children and our future likely will be no better off if we don’t do something about this critical problem very soon?
In fact, what if you knew that your tax dollars paid for schools where 99 percent of students are actually denied basic literacy skills, and only the most elite students are given access to classes where literacy skills are taught?
These statistics are not science fiction. They’re compiled by national nonprofit Code.org, and they capture a very real and very disturbing snapshot of the prevalence — or lack thereof — of computer science courses in the nation’s public schools.
Obviously, the literacy I write about is digital literacy.
Less obvious is that digital literacy is not already prevalent in our public schools. Digital literacy — in spite of what we’re told at our kids’ back-to-school nights — is not the ability to use a mouse or to design a PowerPoint presentation or manipulate an Excel spreadsheet.
All of theses skills are computer-relevant, but they’re not STEM literacy.
Computer Science is the literacy of STEM, the literacy of the future — of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It’s today’s modern chemistry lab. It is the aeronautical engineer’s wind tunnel. It’s how international banks let you keep track of your cash. It’s how your car works. It’s how your grandma’s pacemaker works. It’s how your phone works.
Nearly 70 percent of all STEM jobs are computer-science jobs. And the other 30 percent of STEM jobs require a basic working knowledge of computer science.
Teaching science or engineering in high school — or even in college — without also providing a firm foundation in computer science is a bit like teaching high school-level literature courses or journalism classes or history classes without the benefit of learning to read and write.
CodeVA (www.codevirginia.org), a nonprofit education and advocacy organization that promotes Computer Science – coding – literacy in our schools. 
Many of you 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 looming education literacy crisis facing our schools and our children that few of us know about. 
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. 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. 
With computer science literacy, our children will be competitive with other nations, like England, much of Europe, India and China, where computer science literacy is taught from kindergarten through graduation. And our community will have the knowledge to compete 
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 a high school literacy. Bellevue Elementary, an at-risk school in Richmond’s Church Hill, where the majority of students live below poverty level, partnered with CodeVA last year in a single classroom. 

When Ms. Richardson, the 2nd classroom teacher piloting 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’m such a supporter of CodeVA. Another is because 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 is making Computer Science literacy for all.