Hurd Announces Middle School Computer Science Initiative

December 14, 2016
Press Release
‘We must make computer science education a top priority’

Click here to learn more about the TX23 Computer Science Curriculum Initiative and how to sign up.

San Antonio, TX –Surrounded by school district superintendents and city leaders at BiblioTech South, U.S. Representative Will Hurd announced a new STEM initiative for schools in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In partnership with the University of Texas Center for STEM Education and non-profit organization Bootstrap, this curriculum initiative will train middle school teachers to integrate computer science into State-approved mathematics curriculums.  Currently, only a handful of Texas middle schools offer coding classes.

“In Texas, over 40,000 computing jobs are waiting to be filled, but we only graduate 2,000 computer scientists each year,” said Hurd, who studied Computer Science at Texas A&M University. “Right now the pipeline that produces Computer Science professionals starts at the high school level. We’ve got to do a better job preparing our students for the jobs that don’t exist yet—and we’ve got to start at an earlier age. Coding is the language of the 21st Century economy. If our students can’t speak it, they will be left behind.

The University of Texas Center for STEM Education partners with Bootstrap to host the training, which will train teachers how to teach computer science using math. The learning materials reinforce core concepts from algebra, making the curriculum compatible with the state standards set by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Because the curriculum is taught through existing math classes, schools do not need additional teachers or classes. Forty middle school teachers may participate in the March 23 – 25 training at BiblioTech South in San Antonio, in order to implement the program in the classroom in Fall 2017. This training has been generously sponsored by Intel, Dell, Facebook, and Brocade.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff: “Since the doors of the first branch opened on September 14, 2013, BiblioTech has actively worked to bridge literacy and technology gaps in San Antonio and surrounding areas.  Congressman Hurd’s announcement of opportunity and availability for this training is a testament to his support in these areas.  BiblioTech and the Bexar County are proud to assist in this new and exciting approach to enrich our community and youth.”  

Dr. Brian G. Gottardy, Superintendent of Schools for North East ISD: “North East ISD recognizes the need for a skilled technology workforce and understands our role in preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Expanding computer science opportunities down to middle school will help us build engaging and relevant technology experiences to prepare students for high school, college and career.”

Emmanuel Schanzer, Bootstrap Program Director: “Algebra is the key to future success in STEM fields, and jobs that require Computer Science knowledge are among the fastest-growing segment of the economy. Bootstrap is proud to work with teachers across Texas’ 23rd district, bringing our unique blend of Algebraic Programming to teachers across San Antonio and beyond.

Manuel Justiz, Dean of the College of Education at The University of Texas:  "We are excited to partner with Congressman Hurd’s office and companies like Facebook, Intel, Dell and Brocade to bring cutting-edge computer science teacher training to Texas. The WeTeachCS project in the Center for STEM Education is committed to providing teachers with high-quality, accessible computer science education, and we are proud of the project’s state and national leadership to improve such education for all students, enabling them to become leaders in the innovation economy.”

Alex Stamos, Facebook Chief Security Officer: “Creating ways to engage young people early with computer science is one of the best investments we can make toward their future and our society. We are glad to support the Hurd Computer Science Initiative for its forward-looking approach.”

Jeff Rangel, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs, Brocade: “Brocade believes the network is a platform of innovation with almost limitless potential. We also believe that today’s youth need the STEM skills necessary to leverage that innovation to co-create futures we’ve yet to imagine. We’re proud to support this computer science initiative because it has the capacity to empower youth with those skills.”

Steve Harris, Federal Vice President and General Manager, Dell EMC: “As part of Dell’s 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, Dell is committed to putting technology and expertise to work where it can drive human progress. Dell recognizes the importance in providing underserved children access to technology and equip educators with the resources needed to build the computer science, STEM and computational thinking skills crucial for children’s success in a technology-driven future. We are excited to collaborate with Congressman Hurd and top technology companies on this new STEM initiative.”

Peter Cleveland, Vice President of Intel’s Government and Policy Group: “Studies show that the quality of a teacher is the single largest influence on student achievement. We are proud to support Congressman Hurd’s Computer Science Initiative to train teachers to integrate computer science into curriculum and help prepare students for the jobs of the future.”

Al Arreola, President and CEO, South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce: “The South San Antonio Chamber supports Congressman Hurd’s creative approach to filling the computer science talent gap while championing our homegrown tech sector. This initiative is a great example of how the public and private sectors can work together to generate real returns for our community.”

Ramiro Cavazos, President and CEO, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: “The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is proud to support proposed policies that encourage more students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Hispanic Chamber hosts the largest STEM initiative in San Antonio, the CORE4 STEM Program each year, created to build the future STEM workforce of San Antonio, and we look forward to partnering with Rep. Hurd on furthering efforts such as these.”

Andrea Connor, 7th Grade Student from Lopez Middle School, shares why Computer Science is important to her.Andrea Connor, 7th Grade student at Lopez Middle School speaks with U.S. Representative Will Hurd (center), Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff (left) and NEISD Superintendent Dr. Brian Gottardy (right).

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