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Promoting access to computer science for girls

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Promoting access to computer science for girls

Earlier this month, CBS’s 60 Minutes highlighted the work of Code.org in expanding access to computer science opportunities for girls. The 60 Minutes piece drew public attention to the growing number of tech-related jobs across the country and the lack of women currently filling these positions. Despite the efforts of universities, non-profit organizations, and foundations to diversify the STEM workforce, the field of computer science is still dominated by white men and the number of female computer science majors has been on the decline.

The 60 Minutes special mainly focused on the work and reach of Code.org’s computer science initiative, though there are many organizations working to expand access to computer science to girls, low-income students, and students of color. Organizations like Girlstart, Techbridge, Black Girls Code, Girls Inc., and Girls Who Code focus on the benefits of providing a girl-centric experience in computer science and coding, often in afterschool programs. These programs provide the field with promising practices for building STEM identities and interest among girls that help to address the diversity issues in  the STEM workforce.

We need to expose all students to computer science earlier than middle school. But it will take more than early exposure to inspire young girls to pursue computer science careers. So what are the best strategies for engaging girls in computer science? Techbridge, an organization devoted to championing equity in STEM for all girls, released Changing the Game for Girls in STEM to share promising practices for promoting opportunities for girls in STEM. Changing the Game for Girls in STEM highlights two main strategies for doing this work:

Strategy #1: Design with diverse girls and communities in mind. The first step to designing inclusive programming for girls is creating culturally responsive and relevant programming. Starting at a young age, getting girls excited and interested in computer science is about creating a safe place to engage in creative problem solving. Programming should also incorporate  student driven community change into STEM learning opportunities.

Strategy #2: Strengthen the girl-centric ecosystem. Ensuring that girls are engaging with STEM at home, in school, and out of school is key to sustaining STEM engagement. This includes ensuring that parents are engaged and informed about STEM opportunities for their students and ensuring that girls have positive role models and mentors who break STEM stereotypes. Partnering with STEM industries to engage and train mentors is also key. To spark interest in STEM careers, girls need effective mentors that can show them that STEM professions can be a viable option for their futures’. 

Moving forward, the report says, further investment in programs and target communities is important for creating access and interest for girls in STEM fields and careers. Part of this investment is fostering in a collective impact strategy that engages a STEM learning ecosystem of community learning partners such as in-school, out-of-school, summer, informal learning institutions, and more. Continued exploration and rigorous evaluation of these programs is also central to continued quality improvement and ensuring long term investment in these programs.

Interested in incorporating these strategies into your program? Read the full report online today!

Promoting access to computer science for girls

Earlier this month, CBS’s 60 Minutes highlighted the work of Code.org in expanding access to computer science opportunities for girls. The 60 Minutes piece drew public attention to the growing number of tech-related jobs across the country and the lack of women currently filling these...

BY: Leah Silverberg      03/26/19

STEM learning in the president’s FY2020 budget proposal

It’s often said that a budget is a statement of priorities and last week a majority of President Trump’s priorities were laid out through his FY2020 budget proposal. Due to the partial government shutdown earlier this year, it was a full week before all of the details, specifically...

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/25/19

Free STEM resources for afterschool programs from Science Buddies

By Amy Cowen, online community manager at Science Buddies. Science Buddies, a non-profit organization providing free K-12 STEM education resources, strives to build STEM literacy by delivering fun and engaging STEM activities to all students, whether it is in school, out of school, or at home....

BY: Guest Blogger      03/08/19

National Leap Into Science Week celebrates science & literacy learning in OST

The week of February 25 to March 3, 2019 is National Leap Into Science Week, the annual celebration of Leap Into Science, a national program with a mission to integrate open-ended science activities with children’s books and literacy efforts in libraries, museums, and out-of-school time...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/22/19

Participate in new research on STEAM in out-of-school time

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BY: Leah Silverberg      02/21/19

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Get the latest afterschool STEM news in your inbox

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this January. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/24/19

Investments in quality afterschool STEM policy will continue in 2019

For successful advocacy efforts, slow and steady wins the race. Advancing legislation or budget requests at the state or federal level requires resources, content expertise, and a dedication that often spans a timeframe far longer than originally anticipated. As we enter the third year of a...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/18/18

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BY: Chris Neitzey      12/07/18

Guest blog: Bridging the equity gap via virtual inspiration

By Shelbie E. Wolfe, AmeriCorps STEM Ecosystems VISTA. For the past 7 years, the Afterschool Alliance has been a proud sponsor organization for national AmeriCorps VISTA projects, supporting State Afterschool Networks and STEM Ecosystems to increase the access to and quality of enrichment...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/27/18

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Education Innovation and Research grant provides opportunities for student apprenticeships

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BY: Leah Silverberg      11/05/18

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

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BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

On February 12, the White House released its FY19 budget request. As expected, it reiterated much of the FY18 request, including deep cuts to and elimination of many discretionary programs. This year’s request was made more confusing due to the congressional budget deal reached just days...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      02/22/18

Stay informed about STEM with the Afterschool STEM Hub newsletter

Brought to you by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab Report is dedicated to continuously providing advocates with the tools they need to make the case for out-of-school time STEM learning. The Afterschool Lab Report is sent each quarter,...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/22/18

Wrapping up the 2017 CS Ed Week

Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week) 2017 was an exciting time for the Afterschool Alliance and the CS education community at large. The Afterschool Alliance shared key resources for afterschool computer science throughout the week, including: “Connecting to computer science: A...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      12/15/17

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

Promoting access to computer science for girls

Earlier this month, CBS’s 60 Minutes highlighted the work of Code.org in expanding access to computer science opportunities for girls. The 60 Minutes piece drew public attention to the growing number of tech-related jobs across the country and the lack of women currently filling these...

BY: Leah Silverberg      03/26/19

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

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BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Storytelling & mentoring can bring STEM's Hidden Figures into the spotlight

By Allyson Kennedy, a scientist, educator, and STEM advocate. Allyson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016 and is now working to broaden participation in computing education through an AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellowship at the National...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/26/18

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17