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A Rural District Finds Ways to Make Computational Thinking Accessible to Everyone

It took three years for Talladega County Schools, a rural Alabama district with a student population of 7,000 that is roughly 67 percent White and 28 percent Black, to develop computing pathways for its students. Talladega applied to participate in the National Science Foundation-funded Developing Inclusive K-12 Computing Pathways project to offer computer science and computational thinking (CT) opportunities to all students, particularly female students and students from low socioeconomic households. The district clarified the K-12 computing pathway and identified existing resources and gaps. Next, they defined new learning opportunities across grade levels, courses, and schools and developed a competency map linking CT-specific activities and resources. 


To focus on classroom-level change, leaders first gathered teacher, administrative, student, and community feedback. They created professional development resources and determined how to measure pathway implementation progress. They also built a website that defined CT for parents and families. The district plans to revise its Inclusive CT Pathways document and website continually, and students will continue using “exit tickets” to help the district gain a better sense of student learning gains.