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College of Education and Discovery Partners Institute Announce Second-year Expansion of Computer Science Teaching Endorsement

by Discovery Partners Institute / Jun 22, 2022

Teachers in a professional development classroom

Effort will address shortage of qualified K-12 computer science teachers throughout Illinois.

The College of Education, in partnership with the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), are launching a second cohort of teachers into its Teaching Endorsement in Computer Science (CSTed) program that prepares more teachers to instruct on the subject.

With 80% of current jobs requiring some level of computing knowledge, high school graduates in Illinois are entering a workforce dominated by technology, yet many of these young people are not receiving the computing education they need to compete for these highly sought-after jobs.

A shortage of trained computer science teachers is the No. 1 reason more of these courses are not offered — a problem that is dire in rural areas — which was highlighted last year in the state’s first statewide landscape report on computer science education in K-12 public schools.

“Illinois has struggled to implement high quality and equitable CS education across the state in large part because of the lack of teachers equipped to teach CS,” said James D. Anderson, dean of the College of Education. “With more teachers taking part in the endorsement, we will build the capacity for more schools across Illinois to effectively teach CS and inspire the next generation of innovators.”

This cohort-based, online program lasts five semesters with an optional capstone course and meets the Illinois State Board of Education’s credit requirement for obtaining a teaching endorsement in CS. Last year’s cohort included 24 teachers who are expected to complete the endorsement later this year. This year the program will add 36 teachers and represent school districts throughout Illinois.

The program also includes a partnership with Chicago Public Schools, Rich Township High School District 227, and other school districts that have helped to identify and recruit teachers.

The first course on computer programming and the CS classroom began on June 13.

DPI’s Community Education Unit, which is part of the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs, will provide ongoing support to teachers through the creation of a peer mentoring network and ongoing professional development to support the implementation of CS in the classroom.

Last year Governor Pritzker signed Illinois HB2170 into law, which requires all school districts to offer at least one CS course by the 2022-23 school year. In 2021, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) also approved statewide standards for computer science. The new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign endorsement will help prepare districts to meet these standards and requirements.

“Increasing the number and quality of CS teachers is one of the strongest ways we can address the disparities and inequities that exist for CS education in Illinois,” said Charity Freeman, associate director of teacher training. “During the next five to 10 years, we aim to endorse hundreds of teachers in CS and support hundreds more through ongoing professional learning activities so that every Illinois high school has a qualified CS teacher.”

Interested candidates can learn more here, are encouraged to complete an interest form, or contact DPI’s Associate Director of Teacher Training, Charity Freeman (, for more information.