News / News + Updates

CLX and Partners Launch CSforCHI Strategic Plan

  • Luke Karner

For the past year, the education landscape has been wholly centered around technology and virtual learning. While some are realizing for the first time the integral role computers play in today’s learning environment, others are seizing this opportunity and flexibility to further support and expand existing computer science (CS) initiatives. With advocacy from friends downstate, CSforIL has successfully completed a campaign to expand CS opportunities throughout the state. The Illinois House Bill 2170 will require all Illinois high schools to offer CS coursework to all students. (This is a report from Advance Illinois on the house bill.) While a CS course graduation requirement has been present in Chicago Public Schools for some time now, this state-level action is a reaffirmation of the value of CS education.

The CLX community is not new to the CS world and is excited to further build off this statewide momentum. There are dozens of CS-related non-profits and learning institutions driving powerful programming. Public and private schools are expanding CS course offerings and extracurricular activities. Yet, like far too many things in our city, these opportunities are not equitably distributed. It is clear that in order to reshape the CS landscape to better reach all students and families, there needs to be a collective effort from all stakeholders. Enter CSforCHI, an initiative born in 2019 to advance equity, awareness, access, and pathways in K-12 computer science education for Chicago youth, educators, and families. It was then that CLX and our partners recognized a need to coordinate, connect, and better share CS resources and opportunities. In the subsequent months CLX, with a core team of educators and non-profit leaders, worked collaboratively to develop a strategic plan to guide CSforCHI’s future efforts. This plan has ambitious goals that seek to raise awareness and engagement with existing CS opportunities, further develop career pathways, and support shared language and data across ecosystem stakeholders.

View the detailed CSforCHI strategic plan here.

The importance of robust CS opportunities for students and their families has never been more apparent; with support from the CME Foundation, CLX and our core partners are excited to turn this plan into action to create a more equitable and accessible CS ecosystem. If you are interested in learning more about this effort we invite you to join the CSforCHI meeting on March 2nd, at 9:00 am.

CSforCHI’s core team consists of members from CLX, Chicago Public School’s Office of Computer Science, Chicago Public Libraries (CPL), Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), Northwestern University Office of Community Education Partnerships (OCEP), and nonprofit partners including We All Code, Project Exploration, and Project Syncere.