This is a guest post by Jennifer Manning, AspireIT Partnerships Program Director and Marijke Visser, Senior Policy Advocate, ALA Washington Office
The National Center for Women and Information Technology AspireIt program and ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code are continuing their partnership to connect more young women and girls to computer science (CS) and technology- related opportunities. Library staff can and do play an important role in supporting youth as they explore career paths in and out of school. This month’s post spotlights a potential partner for library staff active in connecting youth interests to CS and tech, the school counselor.
CS educators across the nation are finding that collaborating with their school counselors yields positive results in directing youth to viable education and career opportunities. School counselors are key partners with community libraries as counselors regularly share out information to students about local opportunities, especially those at the library. Many families tap into the library as a hub of information, community-building, and more. Often, counselors are in the role of distributing information about community events on a school-wide level and also individually targeting students and families who would enjoy and benefit from the programs.
NCWIT Counselors for Computing (C4C) provides professional school counselors with information and resources they can use to support ALL students as they explore CS education and careers. Counselors are influencers and gatekeepers. They counsel and encourage students in their education and career aspirations, advise on course selections, and expose students to occupations through career fairs and internships. Working together, school counselors and library staff can provide the encouragement and exposure , young women are need to pursue computing in school ro as a career.
To help you build a partnership with this valuable resource, check out the webinar CS for All Teachers and C4C held discussing key strategies for creating a positive partnership with your counselors for CS advocacy.
For additional valuable NCWIT C4C resources (available to libraries for free), click here to view the collection and how to order. To find out more about the Libraries Ready to Code and AspireIT events and resources check out the 2019 Community Champion Learning Series calendar.
This post was written by Jennifer Manning, AspireIT Partnerships Program Director
The National Center for Women & Information Technology’s Aspirations in Computing (AiC) program is designed to support young women in computing by providing recognition, encouragement, and opportunities to jobs, scholarships, and connections to the tech community. NCWIT Aspirations has recognized over 10,000 women in 9th -12th grade for their aspirations and passion in computing and built a supportive network in each of the 79 regional affiliates. This network includes parents, industry professionals, community leaders, and educators all working together to increase the meaningful participation of women in computing and technology within their community
Applications for the next Aspirations cohort are open now and it’s your opportunity to encourage high school girls to apply (and at the same time become their mentor and supporter). More than two-thirds of past applicants said they applied because they were encouraged to do so by an educator or mentor. As Aspirations in Computing Award recipients, those selected will join the nationwide AiC Community and have exclusive opportunities available as they pursue computing and technology in their academic and professional careers. Aspirations is a research-based program that provides long term support to program participants, with 91% of past award recipients continuing on to study STEM in college as a major or minor–77% of those in computing or engineering.
To learn about the array of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing engagement opportunities available, please take some time to watch the 30 minute informational video
In the summer of 2017 the Russell Library in Middletown Connecticut, was accepted to participate in the national non-profit Girls Who Code©. Girls Who Code (GWC) partners with other groups, such as libraries, to prepare students for careers in technology fields by introducing computer programming. Starting in September 2017 the Russell Library offered its first GWC course for 20 weeks to a full class of 12 students and a waiting list! The popularity and the community’s positive response suggested that the library should offer the course again.
As a Teen Librarian with a MLS and no official Computer Science background, after the first session I realized I needed reinforcements. The YALSA/ Dollar General Grant fit the perfect spot to be able to offer the program again. (*Side Note- GWC suggests a CS Degree or CS experience is not necessary; that anyone can run a GWC program with the tools and resources they provide.)
The initial impetus in searching for a grant was our robust teen volunteer program, which offers important job preparation skills to the teens of Middletown. Teens volunteer at the library all year long, with the majority of the hours in the summer. During the brainstorming process, the concept transformed from volunteers assisting in all Youth and Family Learning Summer Learning Programs to two interns for a specific program, GWC.
Each month, through December, YALSA is sponsoring free webinars (for members and non-members) on topics related to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.
The September webinar (the full video recording is available after the break) on the topic of Cultural Competence and Responsiveness. The focus of the session was on creating inclusive computer science opportunities for youth and was by Lecia Barker from the National Center for Women and Informational Technology (NCWIT) and Cheryl Eberly from the Santa Ana Public Library.
The application for Phase III of the Libraries Ready to Code Grant is open now through August 31, 2017.
The grant program, sponsored generously by Google, will fund a cohort of school and public libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with youth, including underrepresented youth. A total of 25-50 grants up to $25,000 each are available.
- Public or school library (you do not need to be an ALA member to apply, but members will be given preference during the review process)
- Library must be located in the United States or U.S. Territories
- Program must be focused on computational thinking or computer science
- Program must be completely free of cost to youth and their families, including deposits
- Program must serve youth (anywhere on the Pre-K to grade 12 spectrum)
- Must have prior approval from your library administration to implement the program (if grant funds are provided). Verification may be required upon request
Please note, you must meet all of the above eligibility requirements in order to apply for the grant. If you do not, your application will be disqualified.
A virtual information session about the grant program and application process will be held on Aug. 1 at 2:30pm EST. Reserve your seat here. The recording of the session will be made available to those who can’t attend it live. Additionally, before submitting an application, we encourage you to read the Request for Proposal and use it as a guide to filling out the application). In addition, an FAQ, and list of resources including sample programs are on the Libraries Ready to Code site to inform your work as you prepare your grant application. Questions? Contact us.
Apply now through August 31, 2017.
ALA has announced a competitive grant program, sponsored by Google, that will fund a cohort of 25-50 school and public libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with youth, including underrepresented youth. The grant application will open in late July. If you’d like to get notification when the application is open, sign up via this online form. The $500,000 program is part of Phase III of Libraries Ready to Code, an ongoing collaboration between ALA and Google to ensure library staff are prepared to develop and deliver programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth, two skills that will be required for challenges and jobs of the future. YALSA is partnering with ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, AASL, and ALSC to implement this program. Learn more.
I’m what some circles call a security wife – I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband is in information security.’ Lately, I’ve been sucked into helping plan their conference in November, which has furthered my immersion into the whole field. Yes, a lot of it goes way over my head, but I know more than the Average Jane. So what am I taking away from all of this to use in my own work? Well, I’ve increased my skill at designing the conference badges in GIMP, which is the open-source version of Photoshop. (If you need Photoshop, and the light version isn’t enough, beg your IT department to let you download GIMP. It’s free, and if you already know Photoshop, GIMP is a breeze). Open source shouldn’t be seen as innovative for our libraries in this day and age given how long it has been around, but it is. Continue reading