ASMSA recognized as Champion for Computer Science by national organizations

1 year ago

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts has been recognized as an inaugural Champion for Computer Science by the Computer Science Teachers Association and

The Champions for Computer Science program recognizes students, teachers, schools, districts and organizations on the forefront of the national computer science education movement. Honorees were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 nominees. They were recognized during a special 2017 Computer Science Education Week kickoff event Monday.

“We are ecstatic to have such a tremendous response to the call for nominations,” said Deborah Seehorn, interim director of CSTA. “The selection committee had a difficult time choosing the winners from so many exemplary entries. These are people who are truly broadening participation in CS, advocating for CS, innovating, and making an impact in their community.

ASMSA was one of five schools nationally to be recognized as a Champion for Computer Science. The award recognized ASMSA’s efforts to provide computer science education in both its residential program and across the state through its Coding Arkansas’ Future initiative.

“ASMSA has been committed to computer science education since the program began in 1993,” said ASMSA Director Corey Alderdice. “Recognition of our efforts to champion computer science and coding across our residential program, educator development initiatives, and enrichment programs by CSTA and underscores Arkansas’ national leadership in the movement to promote CS for all.”

The school has required residential students take at least one computer science course since the school opened in 1993. The school introduced its Coding Arkansas’ Future initiative in May 2015 in response to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s efforts to expand computer science education in Arkansas. In February 2015, Hutchinson signed Act 187 into law requiring all public and charter high schools in Arkansas to offer computer science education courses beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.

Coding Arkansas’ Future provides expanded computer science education courses for schools across Arkansas taught by ASMSA faculty through its digital learning program. ASMSA also provides training, support and mentoring for teachers in an expanded program, encouraging school districts across the state to develop their own computer science faculty through a professional development model led by ASMSA’s computer science educators. The program initially focused on high school courses but expanded to middle schools this year.

The program has been aided by support from Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education. ADE has provided various grants to support the initiative and allow it to offer various educational opportunities for both teachers and students. The program owes part of the credit for its success and its national recognition to the continued support from the state, Alderdice said.

“ASMSA is proud to partner with the leadership at the Arkansas Department of Education, ADE Office of Computer Science, and districts across our state to achieve Governor Asa Hutchinson’s vision of expanded access to opportunities in computer science education. The award is not only a recognition of ASMSA’s work but also the shared efforts of educators across Arkansas,” he said.

During the awards ceremony, several states were recognized for their continued efforts to support computer science education. Huthcinson was featured in a video announcing a commitment to allocate $500,000 of its computer science initiative budget to provide $2,000 stipends for elementary and middle school teachers who seek professional development to become a lead computer science educator for their school district.

CSTA is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines at the K-12/pre-university level. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities.

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