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Integrating Computer Science Helps Meet the Needs of Our Workforce

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

At the 2021 School Leaders Advancing Technology in Education (SLATE) conference last month, State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly announced that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction would be releasing a statewide computer science plan.

In her speech, Dr. Underly acknowledged the skills our workforce needs and pointed out how integrating computer science in our schools can help us meet these needs.

“We need equitable and scalable options to ensure every student across the state can access digital technology pathways, computational thinking experiences, and cross-curricular learning opportunities,” Dr. Underly said. “We know these are some of the most sought-after post-high school learning experiences. Let’s make sure Wisconsin students can access them during their K-12 education.”

Gov. Tony Evers also proclaimed Dec. 6-12 as Computer Science Week in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Computer Science State Plan provides a vision and roadmap to assist school districts in planning for K-12 programming options for all students. The statewide plan focuses on creating goals and priorities in a number of areas, including: equity, partnerships, standards/implementation, community/career/communication, funding/support, and data. In the state plan, the DPI commits to creating opportunities to connect with area Cooperative Education Service Agencies (CESA) representatives, industries, and communities in order to create, build, and/or grow computer science programs and offerings in schools across Wisconsin. The DPI will also be requesting in the next biennium budget position authority and staff funding support to have a designated state computer science consultant, as well as funding for districts for training and implementation support. The state plan will identify options and support to remove barriers in licensing, regional access to partnerships, course access and digital technology pathways options, as well as create a statewide professional learning network to elevate innovation educational programming, mentorship programs, and partnerships with industry.

Goals of the Wisconsin Computer Science State Plan include growing standalone computer science programs, creating opportunities in computer science at all levels PK-12, integrating computer science in other content areas, growing teacher preparation programs, and creating equitable access to programming that includes underrepresented groups such as girls and students of color. Members of all 12 CESAs have been trained in CS4ALL’s SCRIPT Program and are ready to support you in achieving these goals while building your computer science programing at no cost for the next two years. Please reach out to your regional contacts listed on the Plan Implementation webpage to begin the district journey.

The DPI Computer Science webpage will continue to expand with information about training, student learning opportunities, partnership highlights, and professional learning networks.

For additional information contact Janice Mertes, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning and coordinator statewide Future Ready and digital learning program at or Chad Kliefoth, Digital Learning Consultant, at