In San Francisco, computer science for all…soon

by Andra Cernavskis
June 25, 2015

CS for all

Classroom volunteer Aimee Menne helps teach one of the only computer science classes currently offered at San Francisco’s Mission High. Photo: Andra Cernavskis

SAN FRANCISCO — Many children in San Francisco do not have regular access to computers in school, let alone computer science classes. The school district is about to change that as it plans to become the first large urban school district in the country to commit itself to exposing every child to computer science starting in pre-kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.

“We are not trying to produce an army of software engineers,” said Bryan Twarek, SFUSD’s computer science coordinator. “We want to open all doors to this industry, and right now those doors aren’t open to everyone.”

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“We want to make sure that when people are talking about computer science education, they are talking about critical thinking and computational learning and not just bringing fancy technology into the classroom,” said Julie Flapan, the executive director of Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS).

While not involved in creating SFUSD’s curriculum, ACCESS works to bring computer science education to traditionally underserved student populations in California. Flapan said that based on what she’s read about the planned SFUSD program, San Francisco leaders seem to understand the difference between just teaching students how to use technology and teaching them how to use computer programming as a form of problem solving.