Third graders from PS/IS 217 visit Cornell Tech campus for Let’s Code Roosevelt Island.

Cornell Tech’s Teacher in Residence program to expand in NYC

Cornell Tech’s Teacher in Residence (TIR) program, which provides coaching to help public school teachers incorporate computer science into the school day, will expand into four additional schools in New York City thanks to major grants from the Siegel Family Endowment and the Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund.

The TIR program was launched in September 2016 at PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, and later at Hunter’s Point Community Middle School in Long Island City and Girls Prep Lower East Side Charter Middle School. The new grant funding will help the program expand computer science access to diverse populations of K-8 students, many in high-need areas throughout New York City.

Sarah Goodman, principal of Hunter’s Point Community Middle School, at a Let’s Code event at Cornell Tech.

“At Cornell Tech, we believe that computer science is teachable to everyone, and that it is imperative to prepare all students for the digital age,” said Diane Levitt, senior director of K-12 education at Cornell Tech. “On Roosevelt Island, we have seen how the Teacher in Residence program has transformed the school, bringing computer science to every classroom.

“Thanks to the vision and generosity of our donors,” Levitt said, “we will be able to expand our understanding of how to best support teachers as they implement computer science not as a special elective or after-school activity, but into the regular school day, for every student, throughout all grade levels.”

The TIR program is part of Cornell Tech’s commitment to New York City’s Computer Science for All initiative. Cornell Tech’s TIR instructors are experienced computer science master teachers who provide professional development, identify curricula, help teachers plan lessons, model instruction and observe classes. TIR instructors’ feedback builds the capacity of non-computer science teachers to teach computing in New York City public elementary and middle schools.

“We have never really had a computer science curriculum or program before we had the partnership with Cornell Tech,” said Sarah Goodman, principal of Hunter’s Point Community Middle School. “Now, in each grade, every child is engaged in a project that asks them to think outside the box, to be creative, to problem-solve using computer modeling or technology or coding, which wasn’t in place before.”

Let’s Code workshop for seventh graders from Hunter’s Point Community Middle School on the Cornell Tech campus.

The program seeks to test and grow tools and curricula teachers can implement with modest investment to add academic value. Thanks to the grant funding, the program will expand to PS 86, an elementary school in the Bronx, the Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem, Creo College Prep, a new middle school opening in the Bronx, and at least one more school in Brooklyn.

Cornell Tech’s K-12 engagement will grow to more than 4,500 elementary and middle school students with the new funding.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of expanding the Cornell Tech Teacher in Residence program,” said Thea Charles, head of knowledge and impact at Siegel Family Endowment (SFE). “SFE has been a partner in this project from the very beginning, and we’re excited to see this proven, research-backed program continue to expand in schools across New York City.”

“The Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund strives for a world where every child can think, solve and create using every effective tool possible – including technology,” said Amber Oliver, director of the fund. “We are investing in the Teacher in Residence model because Cornell Tech understands the only way we will achieve this vision, for every child, is if every teacher has the support and resources to infuse computing education into their classrooms, no matter what they teach.”

More than 100 Cornell Tech graduate students volunteer at campus K-12 events. Faculty members also contribute ideas and expertise to curriculum development and curation. To date, in partnership with Cornell Tech, more than 350 teachers have been engaged in making computer science teachable.

Cornell Tech partners with New York City public schools to power the next generation of digital leaders with K-12 computer science.

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Gillian Smith