Candidate: Gail Chapman

Last weekend I had the privilege to spend time with a young Latina woman, Jessica, who is currently a junior in high school, enrolled in the CS 1 course at her school, actively engaging in the college search and application process and considering a major in computer science. Presented with this opportunity I couldn’t resist taking the time to find out more about what motivates her and what the key points were along the path to where she is now.
Listening to her story started me thinking about my own convoluted journey from high school Latin scholar and potential biology major to co-author of Exploring Computer Science and fierce advocate for equity and access to quality computer science education in K-12. Jessica’s story was filled with forks in the road and potential “roads not taken”. At each of those forks was a teacher/mentor who made a difference; some by what they said (or didn’t say), some in more profound ways.
My story was also filled with those forks that included: High School Mathematics Teacher reconstituted to AP CS Teacher when the course was first introduced; Assessment Specialist for the AP CS exam and curriculum at ETS through 2 language changes (ah, yes, the language wars.); Coordinating professional development workshops and working with AP consultants at the College Board; and Director of Leadership and Professional Development at CSTA. And yes, for me there was also always a teacher/mentor who made a difference. Many of those people are current members of CSTA. In every case both for Jessica and for me came a sense of empowerment.
As educators we have opportunities to have a profound effect on future generations and also a great responsibility. Hundreds of seemingly small decisions and statements are made every day that can change the course for one student, a classroom, or a nation. The latest Taulbee survey shows an increase in the number of students in computer science and the number of computer science degrees granted. I hope that this seemingly good news doesn’t stop the focus on K-12 computer science and in particular the focus on the need to broaden participation in computing. Broadening participation does not end with increasing numbers. As long as women and students of color continue to be underrepresented, we have much more work to be done. It is our shared responsibility.
If elected to the CSTA Board of Directors, I will work to ensure that equity is at the forefront of the decisions we make and continue to promote activities that empower teachers.
Gail Chapman
Candidate CSTA Board of Directors At-Large Representative

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