Computer Science for Hawai‘i

Computer Science (CS) is much more than using a computer and coding. It’s multidisciplinary and provides a platform for fun, relevant, and engaging learning. Hawai‘i has a draft action plan to address how to implement CS learning in all our schools with fidelity and equity that also reflects the urgency of preparing students for in-demand and lucrative careers in CS fields and beyond.


About CS for HI

The Hawaii DOE recognizes the urgency for establishing a statewide Computer Science education program. According to, there are more than a half-million open computing jobs nationwide, but last year only 49,291 computer science students graduated into the workforce. In Hawai‘i, there are nearly 1,800 open computing jobs, but only 155 students who graduated last year with a CS degree. Not only are these careers in demand, they’re lucrative — computer and information technology occupations offer a national median wage of $82,860 versus $37,040 for all other jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Regardless of whether students pursue formal degrees and certificates, CS knowledge and skill sets are needed in most industries; computing touches almost every aspect of modern life.

In 2017, the Hawai‘i DOE formed a Computer Science Work Group to:

  • Collect baseline data about current opportunities and coursework at our schools;
  • Form and convene an internal educators team to review standards and curricula;
  • Form and convene an external advisory team of stakeholders from education, business and technology fields; and
  • Draft a state action plan to address important issues such as equity access, teacher development and training, outreach, and funding.

The work group has gathered feedback from educators on proposed standards, and from all stakeholders on a draft state Action Plan for CS Education. On May 3, 2018, the Board of Education approved the adoption of CS standards — this is the first step in a multi-year effort toward providing computer science opportunities for all K-12 students by 2022. On June 21, Gov. David Ige signed into law Act 51 (HB 2607), which provided $500,000 in Fiscal Year 2018-19 to develop and implement a statewide computer science curricula plan and ensure each public high school offers at least one computer science course each school year.

You can follow Hawaii’s conversation about Computer Science education with the hashtag #CSforHI.

CS in HIDOE overview


What is CS?

As the foundation for all computing, computer science is defined as “the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their [implementation], and their impact on society” (Tucker et. al, 2003, p. 6). Learn more.


CS K-12 Framework


Five core concepts represent the major content areas in the field of Computer Science:

  1. Computing Systems: The physical components (hardware) and instructions (software) that make up a computing system communicate and process information in digital form. An understanding of hardware and software is useful when troubleshooting a computing system that does not work as intended.
  2. Networks and the Internet: Networks connect computing devices to share information and resources and are an increasingly integral part of computing.
  3. Data and Analysis: The amount of digital data generated in the world is rapidly expanding, so the need to process data effectively is increasingly important.
  4. Algorithms and Programming: An algorithm is a sequence of steps designed to accomplish a specific task. Algorithms are translated into programs, or code, to provide instructions for computing devices. Algorithms and programming control all computing systems, empowering people to communicate with the world in new ways and solve compelling problems.
  5. Impacts of Computing: Individuals and communities influence computing through their behaviors and cultural and social interactions, and in turn, computing influences new cultural practices. An informed and responsible person should understand the social implications of the digital world, including equity and access to computing.

The core concepts (what students should know) are part of a K-12 Computer Science Framework that also include core practices (what students should be able to do) that get progressively complex as a student moves through the K-12 system.



Standards delineate a core set of learning objectives designed to provide the foundation for curriculum and the K-12 framework. The DOE’s CS internal educators team and external advisory team support use of the Computer Science Teachers Association’s K-12 Computer Science Standards, Revised 2017. View the standards here.

The CSTA Standards:

  • Introduce the fundamental concepts of computer science to all students, beginning at the elementary school level.
  • Present computer science at the secondary school level in a way that can fulfill a computer science, math, or science graduation credit.
  • Encourage schools to offer additional secondary-level computer science courses that will allow interested students to study facets of computer science in more depth and prepare them for entry into the workforce or college.
  • Increase the availability of rigorous computer science for all students, especially those who are members of underrepresented groups.

The standards have been written by educators to be coherent and comprehensible to teachers, administrators, and policy makers.

Action Plan for CS Education

To ensure that CS learning and opportunities are rolled out with fidelity and equity among all our schools, the Computer Science Work Group and its advisory teams developed a CS state action plan based on an outline from to address the key areas below. The action plan is a living document that will evolve as we learn from implementation and add new resources.

  1. Current Landscape and Strategic Goals: To assess where we are now, and what our expectations of the CS education program are.
  2. Equity: How do we ensure that all students have access to and are engaged in K-12 computer science?
  3. Teacher Pipeline: Understanding where our CS teachers will be coming from, and what professional development, certification and licensure will be required.
  4. Curriculum and Courses: Vetting and adopting the best curricular resources to align with courses to be offered. The Hawaii DOE is a member of the CS For All Consortium and has access to its database of resources.
  5. Outreach: To promote and generate interest in our CS offerings with students, employers and other stakeholders.
  6. Funding: Ensuring the program is sustainable by assessing existing resources and developing partnerships.


Contact Information

Learning and Technology Section

Phone: 808-305-9755



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