CSNYC is a nonprofit founded in 2013 to ensure that all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students have access to a high-quality computer science (CS) education that puts them on a pathway to college and career success. To build thriving ecosystems for CS education in NYC and nationwide, CSNYC develops programming across four key areas: community development, teacher pipelines, industry engagement, and research. Together, work in these areas supports our partnership with the City of New York in Computer Science for All (CS4All): a 10-year initiative to bring CS to all 1,700 NYC public schools.
Early access to high-quality opportunities to study CS is critical to breaking down gender, racial and social barriers in the tech sector and related fields. Until recently, CS education was available to only a small number of NYC students, primarily enrolled in selective high schools. In 2012, the NYC Department of Education, with support from CSNYC founder and tech investor Fred Wilson, launched the Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE), the city’s first CS-themed public high school available to all students regardless of academic background. A year later, it was followed by the opening of its sister school, the Bronx Academy of Software Engineering (BASE), and the launch of the Software Engineering Program (SEP), which provides middle and high schools with a multi-year sequence of CS courses. These efforts were tied to the city’s large-scale strategy to encourage the growth of new industries and new jobs, and to ensure that education, both in K12 and at the college/university level, would properly prepare individuals for these new opportunities.
CSNYC was formally launched in 2013 to provide funding and guidance to these initiatives and to support a portfolio of CS education programs managed by other organizations. These programs build capacity in schools by training teachers from other subject areas to teach CS and by recruiting volunteer software engineers to teach in classrooms. In its first three years, CSNYC-supported programs reached 150 public schools and 12,000 students citywide—a demonstration that CS was possible for all students if their teachers were provided with high-quality professional development, curriculum, and support.
With Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of the 10-year CS4All initiative in 2015, CSNYC’s mission of reaching every student in the NYC public schools is being realized. CSNYC supports CS4All through fundraising and by providing guidance and oversight to the initiative, and by building the ecosystem necessary to ensure the ongoing success of K12 CS education in NYC and beyond.