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CSforDetroit, A New Computer Science Education Initiative, is Launched in Detroit
[September 26, 2023]

CSforDetroit, A New Computer Science Education Initiative, is Launched in Detroit

Initiative aims to increase access to equitable K-12 CS education for Detroit students and increase representation in the city's tech ecosystem.

DETROIT, Sept. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the CSforDetroit Steering Committee, a collective of stakeholders and funders formally launch the CSforDetroit initiative. This multi-year initiative, funded by Kapor Foundation,, Song Foundation, and CSforALL's Accelerator Program, aims to champion lasting transformation in Detroit through deep investment in K-12 computing education. Specifically, the initiative will help expand access to year-round computer science learning opportunities for Detroit students, provide opportunities for professional learning for teachers and administrators, and engage the broader Detroit community in building a passion for the development of a diverse and robust pool of talent to design Detroit's future.

Detroit has been recognized as a top emerging startup ecosystem. Across the state of Michigan, there are a monthly average of 21,062 open computing jobs paying over $80,000 a year, but only 2,639 CS graduates are prepared to fill these positions. Just 46% of Michigan high schools currently offer computer science courses, and Black, Latinx, Native students, low-income students, and girls are much less likely to have the opportunity to access these courses. Investment in expanding computing education in Detroit is critical to ensuring all students are prepared to participate in our tech-driven economy and society.  

"The CSforDetroit initiative has long been overdue to bring equitable computing education to young people in Detroit," said Dr. Aman Yadav, Lappan-Phillips Professor of Computing Education in the College of Education and College of Natural Science at Michigan State University. "Led by Kapor Foundation's leadership and vision, a coalition of stakeholders and organizations are coming together to bring culturally responsive and comunity-driven computing education in formal and informal spaces. This work will be transformative, especially for K-12 educators who will get access to comprehensive professional learning opportunities."

"K-12 computer science education not only empowers students with essential digital skills but also nurtures innovation, problem-solving, and paves the way for a brighter future for all while strengthening our Michigan communities," said Cheryl Wilson Computer Science Consultant, Educational Technology Unit, Office of Systems, Evaluation, and Technology at Michigan Department of Education.

The CSforDetroit initiative will invest in activities and programs that ensure rigorous, culturally responsive, and community-driven opportunities for students in grades K-12 to develop knowledge, interest, and skills in computing. Key components of the initiative include:

  • Supporting Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) efforts to expand computing course offerings, build teacher and administrator capacity for providing equitable CS instruction, and boost district infrastructure and capacity to support student learning through the roles of Senior Director of CS & STEM Enrichment and Training & Support Coordinator.
  • Providing comprehensive, equity-focused professional development and learning opportunities for teachers, administrators, and counselors in DPSCD. Activities will include: conducting professional development for elementary school teachers and non-CS high school teachers to build CS competencies, conducting professional development on Tech Ethics for K-12 teachers, providing CS PD for counselors and administrators, and supporting educators in seeking additional external learning opportunities.
  • Supporting Detroit-based out-of-school time programs that engage youth and families in STEM and CS learning opportunities, through a community of practice that builds connectivity between programs, streamlines opportunities, and provides mini-grants.
  • Launching the Detroit City-Wide CS student leadership team to amplify student voice and position young Detroiters as critical leaders contributing their experiences and ideas to the initiative's efforts to create a transformative experience in classrooms and other learning environments.
  • Building community-wide pride and purpose in expanding computing in Detroit through history tours led by renowned historian Jamon Jordan, examining Black contributions to STEAM in Detroit, and developing a community-driven mural to pay homage to the city's rich past and inspire the future tech leaders from Detroit.
  • Collaborating with city and state policymakers to promote policies to advance equity and sustainability in CS education in Detroit.

"We are eager to see the transformative impacts this initiative will have on our educators, students, and their families, as we embark on new community-based approaches that aim to encourage and increase participation for all Detroit K12 students in computer science education," said Leenet Campbell-Williams, Assistant Superintendent at Detroit Public Schools Community District. "This new partnership will further empower our community to become creators, leaders, and innovators in an ever-evolving tech-driven world and shape Detroit's technological landscape for years to come."

The significance of computing extends far beyond the confines of the classroom, with implications for ethical AI development, the mitigation of algorithmic bias, and addressing disparities in the tech sector and our economy. It is essential that Detroit's students are not only consumers of technology but also emerge as ethical creators. This initiative goes beyond simply aiming for representation in the tech sector, to ensure that technologies are designed equitably and in ways that reduce discrimination and harm.

"We're excited to join forces with the community of Detroit to prepare students to pursue a range of tech education and career pathways fueled by their passions and interests," said Kalisha Davis, CS Equity Programs Director for the Kapor Foundation. "This initiative will center youth engagement, Detroit's history and culture, and tech ethics as core elements of its activities aiming to expand CS education."

Members of the CSforDetroit Steering Committee, include Kalisha Davis (CS Equity Programs Director, Kapor Foundation), Allison Scott (CEO, Kapor Foundation), Shawn Hill (Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, DPSCD), Dr. Aman Yadav (Lappan-Phillips Professor of Computing Education, Michigan State University), Dr. Richard Hill (Assistant Dean for Research & External Initiatives, University of Detroit-Mercy), Dr. Patricia Garcia (Assistant Professor of Information & Digital Studies, University of Michigan), Tawana Petty (Founding Member, Detroit Digital Justice Coalition), Richard Grundy (Co-Founder, Journi), Matthew Williams (Regional Manager, Microsoft TEALS), Shanita Canady (Deputy Chief of Council Programs, Girls Scouts of Southeastern Michigan), Dr. Chanel Beebe (Founder, Beebe Arts LLC), Bernell Murray (Accelerator Programs Project Director, CSforALL), and other key changemakers from the Detroit Public Schools Community District, local and national nonprofit organizations, and higher education.

More information about the CSforDetroit initiative can be found here.

About CSforDetroit

CSforDetroit is an initiative developed by a group of diverse stakeholders across the city of Detroit and beyond. The multi-year initiative aims to ensure that through computer science, all students in Detroit will equitably design dynamic solutions to improve our city, nation, and world. This will be accomplished through a series of investments and activities that align with the shared vision and goal, and achieve an impact on the number of students from groups historically marginalized in computing, including Black, Latinx, and Native students, teachers, administrators, and community members who engage meaningfully in culturally responsive and community-driven computer science education.

About the Kapor Foundation

The Kapor Foundation works at the intersection of racial justice and technology by removing barriers in order to make the technology ecosystem more diverse, inclusive, and impactful for communities of color. The Kapor Foundation is a recognized leader in the movement to transform the technology ecosystem by expanding access to computer science education, conducting research on disparities in the technology pipeline, supporting nonprofit organizations and initiatives, and investing in gap-closing startups and entrepreneurs. For more information on the Kapor Foundation and the Kapor family of organizations, SMASH and Kapor Capital, visit

Contact: ¬†[email protected]

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