Increasing School Counselor Awareness of Computer Science

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Conference Proceeding

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K-12 school counselors, along with parents and teachers, are uniquely positioned to support and encourage student educational and career choices. From elementary and middle school, school counselors inform and guide the class and future career choices of the students they work with, establishing access and success for high school courses, such as AP CS courses. With new statewide K-12 CS standards being implemented, a one-year study was undertaken to increase the awareness of computing careers and computer science education by learning first how school counselors perceived computer science, determining how school counselors could increase their understanding of computing careers and finally, identifying the best approaches to reach school counselors with professional learning opportunities designed to increase awareness and understanding of computer science. The professional learning workshops for school counselors were designed as coaching calls, supporting school counselors and aligning with important benchmarks in the K-12 academic year, such as student registration for classes in the next academic year. Qualitative and quantitative methods used included pre- and post-surveys, meeting attendance and interviews with the school counselors. The experience report presented here shows significant increases in school counselor awareness and understanding of computing careers. In particular, the results indicate that multi-event professional learning over time has more impact than shorter (1-2 day) events. The percentage of participants who changed their counseling more than doubled for many of the advising practices. Future work will build on this foundation, while providing more resources for school counselors, and structured to boost attendance and engagement.

Publication Title

SIGCSE 2023 - Proceedings of the 54th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education

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