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Bringing Equitable Computer Science Education to Students with Special Needs

By: Gohar Hamo, Instructional Technology Facilitator and Jenny Peterson, Special Ed Department Chair
Madison Middle School, Van Nuys/Valley Glen Community of Schools, Local District Northeast
Integrating computer science curriculum has generated a high level of excitement across James Madison Middle School. In celebration of #CSEverywhere, we are shining a spotlight on the impact of computer science on our students with special needs. Computer science is a foundational literacy and we can help equity emerge and set all of our diverse learners on a path of possibility for futures in STEM fields by advocating for access and sharing best practices.
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L.A. Unified Computer Science Education Week
December 6-10, 2021
Computer Science Education Week (CSEd Week) from December 6-10, 2021 is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field. This year’s theme is #CSEverywhere, highlighting the impact that computer science is making across Local Districts, Communities of Schools, and within different subjects, grade levels and disciplines.

How will you be celebrating? Let us know.
Leading for Impact Podcast - Episode 3
These edtech influencers and lifelong learners share their implementation strategies to build capacity at their school site, stay connected as learners, and facilitate 21st century instruction.
Enjoy the Leading for Impact podcast at or listen on: Apple Podcasts
ITI Professional Learning Sessions
The following professional learning sessions will help you learn about Computer Science implementation and gain the skills and dispositions for sound instructional practices.
Navigating Computer Science
Introducing Artificial Intelligence - Series
Computer Science Fundamentals (K-5)
An Introduction to Data Sciences (K-12)
Exploring Artificial Intelligence - Series
Integrating Physical Computing, An Interdisciplinary Approach
For more information about our Professional Learning Opportunities visit the ITI website and register through MyPLN.

Join a Computer Science (CS) Cohort
Are you interested in bringing computer science to your school?
6-8 Computer Science Discoveries
9-12 Exploring Computer Science
9-12 Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles
9-12 Advanced Placement Computer Science A
Join one of our secondary computer science cohorts by completing our CS Professional Learning interest form.
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Instructional Technology Planning Cohort 2021 - 2022
We invite school Instructional Leadership Teams (ILTs) to join us for a 3-day cohort to dialogue and develop an informed, effective school-wide plan for digital age learners. This is a professional learning opportunity which provides school Instructional Leadership Teams guidance in developing an Instructional Technology Plan for digital learning tailored to each school’s needs.

Complete our interest form to join our cohort sessions offered during off-track times.
Common Sense Education Recognition Program
We would like to celebrate our L.A. Unified schools and our 14 new educators who have achieved Common Sense Education Recognition for digital citizenship. Click the directories and map below to view all Common Sense Education recognized educators and schools across the district:
Common Sense Educator Directory
Common Sense School Directory

Common Sense Map
Google Certified Educator Program
Congratulations to our L.A. Unified Google Certified Educators. 
Click on the map to view all Google Certified Educators across the District.

Google Certified Educator's map
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Announcing’s Newest Curriculum, CS Connections, PLUS this Year’s Hour of Code Activities!
Are you interested in integrating computer science into your instructional practices?’s curriculum incorporates this year’s Hour of Code activities and makes the connections between learning computer science and other subjects like language arts, science, math, and more.
View Chart
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Computer Science Equity Guide
Support equitable implementation of computer science at your school by increasing computer science (CS) opportunities for all students. Follow the recommendations in the CS Equity Guide. CS has the potential to empower students to discover innovative solutions to problems in their communities, to explore new means of communication and creative expression, and to learn about college majors or careers they might never have thought were possible.

Download the guide here
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Connecting Computer Science to all Classrooms with Nearpod
In this voluntary session available through MyPLN, teachers across all grade levels and subject areas will discover how to leverage their Nearpod premium subscription to explore lessons and strategies for teaching the core concepts of computational thinking and computer science. Participants will learn to build learning experiences that will empower students to employ the strategies for understanding and solving problems.

This session is designed for users with some Nearpod experience. If you are new to Nearpod, please attend our getting started session on 12/1/21 or complete these self-paced resources.

ISTE Standards Addressed:

  • 5.1.a Set professional learning goals to explore and apply teaching strategies for integrating CT practices into learning activities in ways that enhance student learning of both the academic discipline and CS concepts.
  • 2.5.b Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Thursday, December 9, 2021
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Session name: Connecting Computer Science to all Classrooms with Nearpod
90 minutes (one-time only)
Registration via MyPLN

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2021 State of CS Report Shows Half of U.S. High Schools Offer CS, but Disparities Still Exist
Learn about key findings in the 2021 State of Computer Science Education: Accelerating Action Through Advocacy report. This year’s edition provides updated data on the percentage of schools offering computer science nationwide, and for the first time ever, extensive data on high school computer science enrollment.
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