On Monday, Governor Gina M. Raimondo- joined by federal, state, and local officials, as well as representatives from business and education- launched the state's first comprehensive computer science education initiative yesterday. The Computer Science for RI (CS4RI) effort, in partnership with Microsoft, Code.org, colleges and universities across Rhode Island, and others, seeks to help every public school in Rhode Island teach computer science classes by December 2017.
"Our kids deserve the best opportunities in the 21st century tech-driven economy, so we need to do everything we can to help them get ahead by developing the skills that matter," Raimondo said. "Part of turning our economy around and creating jobs is making sure every student, at every level, has access to the new basic skill: computer science. Thanks to the partners we have assembled for this initiative, I know we can achieve this goal."
Keep reading to find out what our partners are saying about #CS4RI.
"Digital technology is democratizing access to knowledge and opportunity at a rapid pace making computational thinking and problem-solving skills critical to every job in the future," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. "We aim to empower every educator and student in the State of Rhode Island to prepare for this future by fostering new levels of collaboration and creativity in the classroom through computer science education."
"We applaud Governor Raimondo, along with Rhode Island's Congressional delegation and local educators for their leadership in underscoring the important role computer science education will play in growing and strengthening Rhode Island's economy," Corporate Vice President and Head of Microsoft Philanthropies Mary Snapp said. "The CS4RI initiative will empower young people with the foundational computer science knowledge they'll need to succeed in the future, no matter what field of study or career they pursue."
"Rhode Island today joins a short list of states leading the country in embracing computer science," Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi said. "We are proud to partner with Governor Gina Raimondo and CS4RI to prepare teachers to introduce the state's youngest learners to foundational computer science skills. This initiative is an important step in opening doors for today's generation of Rhode Island students, readying them to pursue the best opportunities in today's high-tech economy, in every field."
"Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is committed to helping schools advance K-12 computer science education, and we are proud to partner with Governor Raimondo and her team on the CS4RI initiative," PLTW Senior Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer David Dimmett said. "All students will benefit from the study of computer science, both in knowledge and in the development of skills that are critical to success in our rapidly advancing, technology-based world. We look forward to partnering with Rhode Island schools, teachers, and students to do this most important work."
"Bootstrap is excited to partner with Governor Raimondo's team to enrich math and computing education for students across Rhode Island," Bootstrap founder and Providence native Dr. Emmanuel Schanzer said. "The CS4RI initiative will get students computing creatively and thriving mathematically so that they graduate high school prepared with skills that matter."
"All students, whether or not they aspire to become computer scientists, need the skills and knowledge of computer science," RI STEM Center Director Carol Giuriceo said. "We applaud Governor Raimondo for offering a menu of options to schools, which allows districts to choose the right pathway for their population leading to engaged and confident students who are ready to face the 21st century. The Rhode Island STEM Center is excited to be part of this statewide initiative."
"Brown is proud to be a part of a project that positions Rhode Island as a leader in efforts to bring computer science education to students statewide," Brown University President Christina Paxson said. "The Bootstrap curriculum, developed in part by Brown faculty, teaches essential skills that can propel students toward fields with significant opportunities in tomorrow's world. It's exciting that Bootstrap will be part of this initiative, which is so important for our state, and I thank Governor Raimondo and her team for their work."
"FabNewport is excited to work with Governor Raimondo's team to integrate computer science education in Rhode Island schools," FabNewport Executive Director Steve Heath said. "This thoughtful process will empower our youth with the fluency and mindset to succeed in any discipline."
"CS4RI will position our state to be an innovation leader for years to come," Rhode Island Chief Innovation Officer Richard Culatta said. "Computer science skills are not only marketable, they offer students a new way of thinking about the world. By challenging kids in new and different ways, we are also preparing a new generation of leaders to be creative problem-solvers and bring our state into the future."
"We are delighted that Governor Raimondo called upon the University of Rhode Island for its expertise in this critical and rapidly expanding discipline," URI President David M. Dooley said. "The University's Computer Science and Statistics Department was a catalyst in this initiative and is now playing a role in the governor's efforts to bring computer science to K through 12 students throughout the state. Today's announcement expands the work started by URI Professor Vic Fay-Wolfe, who has been introducing computer science in five Rhode Island high schools through National Science Foundation funding. I offer my congratulations to the governor and all of the partners on this exciting new venture."
"We believe that Computer Science education can empower a generation of learners to understand and apply the disciplines required to tackle increasingly complex challenges and participate in the new economy," General Assembly Co-Founder & CEO Jake Schwartz said. "There has been a tremendous amount of thought and energy put behind this incredible effort and we are excited to work with the Governor and hundreds of teachers in Rhode Island as the State's partner in professional development training, to help set Computer Science for All up for success in the long run."