Disadvantaged children throughout the South lack access to basic computer science instruction. In 2015, 37 students who identified as Black or Hispanic took the AP Computer Science exam in the state of Tennessee. As a result of the RePublic Computer Science program, we will have nearly 130 students take the AP exam next year, where 90% identify as students of underrepresented minorities and 50% identify as female. Each subsequent year, we will have a growing student body made up of computer scientists who will monumentally change their communities and the world.
RePublic has also spread innovation beyond our walls. From Nashville, TN to Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA, the computer science team has traveled across the South to host free teacher workshops for educators interested in learning more about teaching computer science. The 64 teachers from three states who attended the free teacher workshops are the beginning of a movement that will profoundly impact students across the South and empower students with tangible skills.
Computer Science has become a critical component of most professions and is reshaping all industries. There are currently 500,000 computer science jobs in the United States, but only 100,000 computer science students. By 2020, there will be an estimated 1 million unfilled positions. Despite this undeniable need, there is an evident disconnect between public school curriculum and societal needs when only one in every four high schools even offers a computer programming elective.
To make sure our students have the skills to contribute to this rapidly-evolving field, RePublic committed to teaching computer science as a core subject within our schools. With a team of educators fluent in classroom best practices, input from an Advisory Panel made up of industry leaders, and relentless dedication to reimagining public education in the South, we incubated a strong program for both students and teachers. Students evolve from consumers of technology to innovators through a project-based curriculum that is aligned to the AP CS Principles Framework from day one. Teachers who originally had no background in computer science engage with comprehensive content training and PD to successfully lead their students to mastery.
Here is to seeing the spark grow!