Sunday, May 25, 2014
Google is celebrating an education milestone in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. At the start of the 2013-2014 school year, CS First created after-school clubs that help student learn, explore and hopefully chart the course for a career in computer science. The current set of four-week clubs is the last for this school year, and more than 600 students are taking part.
All told this year, more than 80 volunteers have worked with more than 1,200 students in Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties. And, there are waiting lists for other students who want in the program. With plans to expand to even more middle schools across the Lowcountry and South Carolina this fall, Google is asking for help from volunteers, called “Gurus.”
The “Gurus” come from all walks of life – like technology professionals, business people, folks with regular jobs and students. They register to volunteer through their school district, receive brief training and are off with Google’s classroom script and online tools.
“We have developed all the materials you need to create a classroom full of students engrossed with a lesson,” said JamieSue Goodman, a Manning native who is the Technical Program manager. “When the students have their headphones on, watching the video instructions and coding, the room goes silent, but then, that’s broken up by someone announcing ‘Finally, I did it’ or ‘Cool.’”
Berkeley County students have been part of CS First clubs from day one, and Superintendent Rodney Thompson has talked about their immediate success. “This has been an amazing partnership and we look forward to getting as many students as possible involved. It has exceeded all expectations.”
CS First is a two-year pilot of after-school and summer programs. Google hired a team of teaching fellows and program managers to lead the work from its data center in Berkeley County. For more information on CS First, please visit www.cs-first.com.