At the beginning of this school year, Google implemented its pilot program CS First—a series of after-school clubs and summer programs that encourage students to learn computer programming in the hopes it will lead students into a career in computer science. Google hired a team of Teaching Fellows and program managers to lead the work from its Data Center in Berkeley County. The 2-year pilot has been largely successful, with waiting lists already filling with more students who want to take CS First. The program has plans to expand across the Lowcountry and South Carolina this fall to even more middle schools.
More than 600 students currently attend this last set of four-week classes, which end May 15th, with eighty volunteers and more than 1,200 students taking part all year in Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties.
Google is seeking more volunteers—called Gurus—for the program. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with this worthwhile program, you can fill out the volunteer interest form.
From all walks of life, the Gurus come from various backgrounds such as technology professionals, college students, business people and more. Once registered to volunteer through their school district they train briefly before setting off with Google’s classroom script and on-line 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 ‘Coooooool.’”
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.”