Computer Science Teacher Certificate Program

Computer Science education is vital to the future of California and its students.  CS is not just about being able to use computers, it is about innovation, collaboration and problem solving.  CS education builds computational and critical thinking skills that allow students to create—not simply use—the next generation of applications, devices, and other computing technologies.  We must ensure that all schools provide access to meaningful and sustainable teaching and learning opportunities in Computer Science, thereby giving every student the expectation to thrive in the 21st century.  Every student should have this possibility, regardless of their ultimate field of study or work, but more importantly regardless of their sex, color, disability or economic status. However, there are not enough K-12 teachers in California prepared to teach quality computer science to the state’s students.

To address this situation, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved a Supplementary Authorization in Computer Science in 2016, replacing an outdated supplementary authorization on computer applications.   For more detail, see CTC’s Coded Correspondence 16-05 (tinyurl.com/CTC-CC16-05). All holders of single subject teaching credentials are eligible to receive this supplementary authorization after receiving college units in computer science courses covering specified topics.  UCI’s Computer Science Teacher Certificate Program provides college credits covering these topics.

Through a special partnership with the Orange County Department of Education and funding from the National Science Foundation, the University of California, Irvine is offering a certificate program consisting of four courses intended to satisfy the requirements of the Supplementary Authorization in Computer Science.  With support from NSF, these courses are currently free of charge for secondary teachers who commit to completing the certificate program and to teaching specific computer science courses at their school.

This certificate program is also beneficial for teachers currently authorized to teach computer science but who would like to improve their teaching.  In particular, note that holders of Math, Business and/or ITE credentials are authorized to teach some CS courses, but adding the supplementary authorization in Computer Science to these credentials supports teaching all CS courses.

This certificate program offers courses with evidence-based Computer Science instructional materials and assessment sets ready for implementation in the classroom. This two-year program consists of four hybrid (face-to-face and on-line) courses on the following schedule:

Total credit units = 15

Term Duration Class
Spring 1 mid March – late May Teaching Exploring Computer Science (4 units)
Summer 1 mid June – early August Teaching Computer Science Principles (5 units)
Spring 2 early April – early June Methods for Teaching CS (2 units)
Summer 2 late June – early August Advanced Topics for CS (4 units)

Participating teachers are expected to begin teaching either Exploring Computer Science or Computer Science Principles (a new AP course) in their schools after the first year in the program. Teachers will participate in a hybridonline and face-to-face professional learning community that includes access to videos of exemplarily compute science teaching; participation in a video club to support reflection on practice; and opportunities to collaborate with fellow teachers and CS/education experts on the use of curriculum materials and assessment tools to support enacting best teaching practices. Our face-to-face meetings are held at the Orange County Department of Education. This program is part of a NSF-funded project in which we will collaborate with participating teachers and schools to learn how we can better offer support in their efforts to teach computer science.

Other key benefits to participating teachers and schools of this new program include:

  • Requires no prior knowledge of or teaching of computer science.
  • Increases participating teacher’s pay scale and employability owing to an enhanced teaching portfolio relevant to 21st century skills and 16 masters level quarter units leading to the CS supplementary authorization.
  • Teachers obtain important pedagogical content knowledge for teaching computer science based on computer science education research.
  • Teachers learn how to build students’ computational thinking skills and transfer computer science principles to other content areas.
  • Teachers have access to a professional learning community for computer science education, designed specifically for California teachers.
  • Enhances students’ access to well-paying jobs in computer science or other jobs relying on computing.

Participation in this program and dedication to offering computer science courses will provide significant advantages to students. By offering these computer science courses, you will provide students with greater opportunities for choosing computer science as a major or career path in the future, or to otherwise be prepared for a world in which computer science is applied in nearly all disciplines and areas of life.

We are especially interested in the participation of teachers in schools in low-income communities of color.  All Orange County teachers with single subject teaching credentials are eligible to apply.