The 2018 CSTA conference is almost at capacity — register here to reserve your spot.
Note: we added this post to the Advocate while our web host provider works on restoring service after an outage. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.
The 2018 CSTA conference is almost at capacity — register here to reserve your spot.
Note: we added this post to the Advocate while our web host provider works on restoring service after an outage. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.
I get a lot questions about the on-line program I am in at Georgia Tech. I thought I would share details about my experience to help others in our CSTA membership who might consider online education as a possible option for their own education. I know there are several CS teachers in CSTA in the same or a similar program who can also add to the discussion.
The OMSCS (Online Masters of Science in Computer Science) at Georgia Tech has broken through barriers, stereotypes, and obstacles and created a world class master’s program that not only has kept its academic integrity and rigor, but has done so at a cost that is tremendously lower than many on-campus programs. The program has been recognized world-wide for its innovative approach and financial model. A typical class runs about $800, including tuition and fees. Students have to complete 10 classes for a degree, putting the total cost of attendance at about $8000. Within those 10 classes, students are required to choose a specialization (Computational Perception & Robotics, Computing Systems, Interactive Intelligence, or Machine Learning), which usually means you have to choose some classes(usually 6 out of the 10) from a specific set of required classes. Most students take 2-3 years to complete their degree, but can take up to 5.
Yes, it’s different than being on campus. Yes, there are things we don’t get access to. No, we cannot go to football games. We don’t have student IDs (I don’t think). Classes have the same expectations of rigor online as they would on-campus. There is freedom to choose which classes to take, and in what order. Classes tend to be project-based, very student-driven. Not all classes in the entire CS program are offered online; currently, there are about 30 class offerings. Any class that is offered has to be “converted” to this online format. We use the same system to register and get grades as other students at Georgia Tech. Each class is different, but many of them take advantage of Udacity for regular “lecture.” The designers of the program have coached the class professors how to record interactive and engaging videos for class. These videos are broken up into bite size chunks never more than a few minutes in length…and they are not dry and monotonous. Many include interactive quizzes embedded in each video. We are able to sense the passions, intonation, and enthusiasm of the professors. Having completed a MOOC with some terrible prerecorded lessons, I have thoroughly enjoyed this online experience.
Tests and exams are always administered online with a 4-day window (you can usually take it anytime from Friday- Monday night) and uses software called ProctorTrack which virtually eliminates the possibility of cheating. With all the obvious possible opportunities for dishonesty with a 100% online class, the program takes it extremely seriously; the honesty element is a regular topic of discussion. In fact, what I notice is that the students themselves take pride in the sense of honor that we all embrace as members of the program.
I have had every type of educational experience possible. I have had theoretical classes with lots of textbook reading, quizzes, and tests. I have had classes with no tests at all, but lots of writing assignments. I have had classes with only a midterm and an exam. I have had classes with large group projects. I have had classes with large individual projects. I have had projects that lasted days, weeks, and even months. I have had classes with required graded homework and classes with ungraded homework. I even had one class where we found out the one of the TA was actually a “virtual assistant.” The one thing every class has in common is that they are all very challenging and expect your undivided attention. I spend anywhere from 10-30 hours per week on a typical class.
One of the major drawbacks that I have experienced is simply not having the inter-student conversations, overhearing a fellow student question to the professor, hanging out after class to talk about ideas with fellow students, chatting with the professor before class for a lesson clarification, or impromptu collaborating in the lab while working on projects.
Once students have found their way into the first class, they quickly learn that the online discussion board, PIAZZA, is the lifeblood of the program. The board is heavily monitored by TAs every day all day. Most classes have lots of (T)eaching (A)ssistants to handle the 100-200 students in the class. Students are also heavy contributors, but not only posting questions…..they are actually equally as active responding to others. In fact, some classes require (or encourage) participation in Piazza. In some classes, we’ll even have responses from the professor. Without giving away too much in the response (honor part plays a part here as well), fellow students give hints, explanations, and advice to each other. Students truly feel like they are in this together. Each class also has a SLACK channel for instant communications for those that prefer that style of medium. TAs also monitor these channels, so students will post questions here as well.
Some classes offer office hours (by TA or the professor) several times throughout a week through Piazza, SLACK, or Bluejeans.
Grading is exactly the same as it would be on-camopus. Any grade can be challenged by asking for a regrade, as long as there is a valid explanation for the request. This happens all the time. Because it is online and there are students from all over the world, most classes usually give at least a week notice for most assignments, giving students the ability to manage class with full time jobs (which many students have). That gives us time to research, plan, and struggle with the projects.
Students who complete 10 courses successfully earn a Master’s Degree, which is the exact same degree earned by on-campus students. Students are offered the chance to come to campus to graduate with fellow classmates during the regular graduation.
It’s been amazing to see the power of teacher voice finally getting the respect it deserves this spring. In states across the country teachers have come together to speak with one voice and policy makers have listened.
Although not as high profile, the same is true in the amazing policy gains for computer science education. Teachers across the country have come together to make sure their students have access to high quality computer science courses.
Just since January, 20 states have passed new laws or initiatives to support computer science, and many of those would not have happened without the the direct work of local CSTA chapters and members. I wanted to highlight three states where CSTA chapters and their leadership played a key role in this work:
These are just a few of the amazing stories that are the result of a teacher led movement. I’m so proud of the work that local CSTA chapters and members have done in the policy space, and if you’d like to be more involved in advocacy work consider engaging with our advocacy committee. There’s a wave of policy decisions to be made in computer science education and it’s essential we work together to ensure teacher voices are heard when these decisions are made.
Executive Director CSTA
Great things are happening for Computer Science (CS) education these days. It is exciting to see news and posts about more schools & districts incorporating CS courses. However, with the increasing speed that technology is changing and the more embedded it becomes in our everyday life, the conversation now derives on when and what to teach. The conversation also includes what knowledge or profile should a CS teacher have. There is no magic formula to incorporate CS into a school. Every school is different, every group of students is different, and every teacher is different.
The whole idea of CS education is to introduce our students to the wonderful world of being creators of technology. Most of us are avid technology users and especially our students which are digital natives. So, what should a school or teacher take into consideration to begin their CS courses. Where does it fit in the curriculum? Are the credits part of math, science, STEM? What background should the teacher have? Should CS courses begin in elementary, middle school or high school or even younger?
So, what should we teach? Should we implement an introductory CS course? A programming, engineering, robotics, or a web and game design course? Should digital citizenship be part of it? Well, there is no curriculum in a box that would fill everybody’s needs, although there are organizations such as Code.org, CS for All, Oracle, to name a few that are producing and publishing material and provide professional development doing an amazing job orienting teachers, schools and districts on how to successfully implement CS. It is also important to know that there is a huge community going through the same process and there are organizations such as CSTA that also support teachers in this endeavor. Another option is to develop their own curriculum taking into consideration the school’s budget, student’s needs and teacher’s experience, but to be able to do that there will usually be the need to have an expert in curriculum development that can analyze all these needs and customize how a CS course will be implemented. There is not a standardized profile for a CS teacher, some won’t even have a CS background, which is not a requirement, but it is important to have a notion on teaching critical and computational thinking.
Before starting is important to know the school, district, students and teachers. Once there is a clear picture, identifying if there is already a faculty member familiar with the school culture and environment who can fit into the profile of CS teacher the school needs. Determining standards, content and scheduling will come next. Some schools start CS as an elective course until they are ready to embed it into their regular course load, which is a good option. The ideal is to introduce CS on the lower grades, so the expectation and content to be taught in the upper grades can become either a college preparatory course or fulfilling the skills to be able to work developing different kinds of technology while still in high school or while in college, allowing them to start having an income at this age. Some schools have a one to one program established, some have computer labs, and some have devices that can be reserved and checked out from a media room or library. Depending on the type of devices that the school or district counts with is where the decision to what kind of software or online product can be used for the course. Fortunately, more and more there are products and resources available on a browser version and can be used with most devices that have an Internet connection and can be opened with most common web browsers.
In the end, each school or district must create its own customized blueprint that will work for taking advantage of all the resources and communities out there to help.
Representative at Large
If you haven’t already registered to attend the CSTA Annual Conference on July 7-10, I hope you are planning to do so soon. CLICK TO REGISTER This is the first time the conference has been held in Omaha, which is hard to imagine given that the city’s nickname is “The Big O.” You would think every CS-related conference would want to be here. If this will be your first visit to Omaha, prepare to be impressed with a modern, friendly Midwestern city. I’ve lived in Omaha (technically, in the suburbs) for 18 years now, and will be happy to serve as your tour guide. Here is my top 5 list of things you need to see when you come to Omaha this summer:
So, register now and I’ll see you in July.
Past Chair, CSTA Board of Directors
When assessing students’ learning in computing, I think we’ve a couple of approaches. One would be to look at the projects students do, whether these are open ended, design and make tasks or more constrained solutions to problems we pose, perhaps assessing these against agreed criteria or using a rubric. The other is to ask questions and use their answers to judge what they’ve learnt: these questions can be quite open, or perhaps as straightforward as multiple choice. I think a good assessment strategy ought to draw on both approaches: we want students to be able to work creatively on extended projects, and we also want to check, from time to time, whether they can remember the things they’ve been taught.
Responses to questions certainly have a place in summative assessment at the end of a course, but I think they’ve much to offer for formative assessment before, during and after lessons or units of work:
Lots of teachers are doing this sort of thing already – writing their own questions to ask their class, or just making these up on the spur of the moment. That’s fine, but coming up with good questions is surprisingly difficult, and it’s not particularly efficient having lots of teachers all doing this independently of one another, when a divide and conquer approach to question writing would work, if only teachers could share their questions with one another.
For the last couple of years, CSTA’s UK little sister, Computing At School (CAS) has been working with assessment experts at Durham University, Cambridge Assessment and EEDI to crowd-source an ‘item bank’ of quick fire questions that teachers can use with their classes. We’ve standardised on four response multiple choice questions (a format that US-based members of CSTA are likely to be quite familiar with already), and have adopted EEDI’s Diagnostic Questions (DQ) platform for hosting the questions, making it easy for teachers to compile questions into quizzes and assign these to their classes.
Access to the questions, and use of the DQ platform is free for anyone. The questions are released under a Creative Commons licence, so teachers are able to embed these in their own virtual learning platform or presentation software if they wish, but our hope is that students attempt these on the DQ site, so we can use the data from hundreds of thousands of students attempting thousands of questions to work out how hard each questions is, whether a question is good at discriminating between stronger and weaker students, and where common misconceptions are in school level computing.
As I write, we’ve some 8,049 questions online: mostly covering middle / high school CS, but there’s some coverage of elementary school CS and of information technology and digital literacy – I’d really encourage you to register on the DQ site and have a browse of what we’ve got: you can filter down through different aspects of CS, and sort questions by most likes, most answered, most misconceptions etc. It’s easy enough to add questions to a quiz of your own, and we’ve got 384 shared quizzes which are free to use too. Once you’ve registered, you can access the questions at bit.ly/quantumquestions.
We’re already getting some insights from students’ answers to the questions, highlighting the areas of the CS that students seem to struggle with, such as understanding variable assignment, code tracing and data types. We’re also running Rasch analysis on students’ responses, and plan to use this to identify lower quality questions, as well as making it easier for teachers to find questions suited to their students’ current level of achievement.
It’s a crowd sourced project, and so we’d be very glad to have more questions: I’d be glad to support anyone interested in getting their questions onto the site, or who’d be interested in learning more about writing good questions. If you’d like to learn more about the project, check out bit.ly/projectquantum, or watch the seminar Simon Peyton Jones and I gave at Cambridge Assessment last month.
I’d like to get personal for this post. My last post was about state-level CS policy. I’ve been engaged in this work for the last few years at the NH Department of Education. This time, I’ll talk about the path that took me to this work, and where I’m going from here. My goal here is to highlight what CS has done for me. My path has been far from traditional, and it might help to illustrate that CS is not just a path to software engineering. So here goes…
How I got into computers
My dad worked for the cable company. He studied electronics when he was a teenager, but never got to complete his studies. He started at the cable company much later in life as a lineman and worked his way up to a role in which he was designing communication infrastructure for central NH. We always had the latest electronics, and when I was a teenager, we were the first house in our town to have broadband internet.
I took a programming class in 9th grade, and I hated it. I don’t remember exactly why, but I told myself that wasn’t something I would do. I didn’t write a line of code again until college.
When I went to college, I was undeclared in the College of Engineering & Physical Sciences. A semester in, I declared Computer Engineering, and later switched to CS. Why was CS different for me the next time around? I’m not sure. Maybe it was the professors or TAs. Maybe it was the Engineering survey course I took when I was undeclared, which helped me to see the big picture of how CS impacts the world.
In the higher levels I took as many interdisciplinary courses as possible. My school offered me a research assistantship to work on data visualization for physics simulations, so I stuck around to work on my MS degree.
I’m not sure if my lack of focus is a good thing or a bad thing, but after almost 6 years of college, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I took a leave. I worked a few brief stints in industry, but wasn’t passionate about what I was working on. I realized that teaching & learning are what drive me, so I decided to teach. It wasn’t hard for me to become a HS math teacher, and I was in the classroom in no time. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing!
I got my legs under me, and then had an opportunity to switch schools and teach more CS. This was amazing for me. I got to rediscover what I love about CS, and reinvent myself as a teacher. I was in this job when the Obama administration announced the CSforAll initiative. I was introduced to equity issues in CS while participating in an NSF-funded research project. The principal investigator on that project became a mentor to me. I started advocating for broader participation in CS at my school.
Advocacy & Policy
I caught wind of a state-level job that was opening up: STEM Education Director. I thought this would be a great opportunity to work on broadening participation statewide. I got the job in part because of my experience and goals in CS education, and my connections with local leaders.
The mentor mentioned above brought me onto our state team in the ECEP (Expanding Computing Education Pathways) Alliance. This team established the CS4NH Alliance. With a strong team in NH and national support from groups like CSTA, ECEP, CSforAll, and Code.org, we’ve made great progress in short time.
The Next Chapter
With inspiration from the many amazing people I’ve had a chance to work with, I decided to apply to doctoral programs. In the fall, I’ll be going back to school and start working on a project funded by NSF under the STEM + Computing Partnerships program. Wherever this leads me, I hope to inspire and empower the next generation of CS educators.
And the moral of the story is…
I hope you take something of value away from this story. Here are a few that come to my mind as I write this:
CS educators and advocates – keep on innovating, and share your story!
When my children were growing up, I remember Teacher Professional Development time as days when I had to remember not to send them to school! (lol)! After joining the CSTA Board, I learned how absolutely critical these Professional Development opportunities are in keeping our teachers excited, engaged and current in their classrooms.
My former UVA colleague and dear friend Jim Cohoon and his late wife Joanne McGrath Cohoon developed a diversity-focused professional development workshop for high school computer science teachers who are interested in attracting and retaining more and diverse students to computing. The Tapestry Workshop has been successfully enabling teachers since 2008 and financial support is available.
The 2018 Tapestry Workshop application is now open but closes April 2, 2018 so time is short!
Many thanks to Leslie Cintron for her words below.
What is a Tapestry Workshop Diversity-Focused Professional Development for High School Computing Teachers?
Tapestry Workshops (tapestryworkshops.org) are diversity-focused professional development workshops for US high school computing teachers. The workshops focus on providing research-supported training and motivation for high school computer science teachers to attract and retain more and diverse students to computing. Tapestry Workshop participants learn about proven practices for increasing the number and diversity of students in high school computing classes. In addition to learning about evidence based diversity-focused strategies for teaching computing, participants discuss teacher challenges and how to overcome them. The multi-day workshop allows participants to actively engage with peer teachers and to reinforce and integrate inclusive pedagogical strategies into their teaching.
Why Focus on Teachers?
By focusing on teachers, Tapestry Workshops produce measurable and ongoing improvements in computing diversity. Teaching the teacher ultimately affects many more high school students than direct student intervention would affect. Since 2008, in excess of 600 teachers have received Tapestry Workshop training. Independent evaluation shows that after taking a Tapestry Workshop more than 80% of workshop participants report enrolling more Computer Science students in general, and more female and under-represented minority students in particular.
Apply for the Tapestry Workshop
This year, thanks to generous support of the National Science Foundation, NCWIT and the Infosys Foundation USA, Tapestry will offer an enhanced 5-day Tapestry Workshop at the Pathfinders Summer Institute 2018, July 15-20, 2018, in Bloomington, Indiana. The Infosys Foundation USA is generously covering 50% of all expenses (including tuition, airfare, accommodation and meals) for each Tapestry Workshop participant from a US public high school. Full scholarships are also available.
To apply go to Pathfinders Summer Institute 2018 at infypathfinders.org and choose “Tapestry Workshop”.
The deadline for applications is April 2, 2018, but Tapestry is accepting participants on a rolling basis. Enrollment is limited, so high school computing teachers are encouraged to get applications in soon and tell your colleagues too!
Can’t make Tapestry at Pathfinders Institute but still want to participate or host a Tapestry Workshop? Contact the Tapestry team at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
In a CSTA Voice article last year, I argued that a goal of CSforAll students means we also need to have CSforAll teachers. There are many professional development efforts underway that target existing teachers such as those supported by the National Science Foundation for courses like Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles and for curricula like Bootstrap, Project GUTS, and Everyday Computing. However, these are not long-term sustainable models. In addition to in-service programs, computer science needs to be integrated as a part of pre-service, or teacher preparation, programs.
Many states are adopting student standards and teacher credentialing in computer science. In 2017, the Iowa Department of Education established a working group to create computer science standards, Ohio required the state board to adopt K12 CS standards, and Tennessee created an endorsement in CS. These are among many legislative efforts (described at code.org/promote) that have an impact on teacher preparation programs.
Because the United States has a distributed control model of education, this means that teacher preparation programs are driven by state requirements for licensure. When states adopt new standards and licensure requirements, teacher preparation programs need to be ready to teach those new standards and prepare students for licensure.
So, how can teacher preparation programs meet the growing demand for K12 CS teachers? Some schools have included a module on computational thinking in existing tech integration courses while others are integrating CS across the curriculum. Some schools target secondary STEM education majors while others want all education majors to have some experience. Each school will need to grapple with their state context and their own program structures to determine a model that will work. Ideally, all pre-service teachers will have a basic understanding of computer science as a discipline, its impact on our society, and key equity issues that impact it.
Last spring, a group of leading experts in computer science education gathered for the Finding a Home for Computing Education in Schools of Education Strategy Workshop. The report synthesized the conversations and existing efforts and will suggest frameworks and models for integrating CS in the field of education at the post-secondary level. Videos from the workshop are available now and the report will be released April 12, 2018, on computingteacher.org.
Integrating CS in teacher preparation programs will be a massive effort that requires many people from a variety of areas to make it successful. Education faculty may not have had much experience in computer science and, just like our students, may feel quite intimidated by the subject. The CSTA community is a great resource for them!
If you’re a current classroom teacher, you could:
Hello fellow CSTA members! Below please find several of your candidates personal statements for you to use as you consider who best to vote for in the current election.
NOTE: You can even find more information about each candidate, as well as the election itself at here:
Michelle Lagos: Representative at Large
Hey there CSTA Members: I work at the American School of Tegucigalpa in Honduras as the Computer Science Department Head and grades 9-12 CS teacher. I am Honduran born and raised with a passion for Computer Science Education. As many of our members, I stumbled into teaching Computer Science. CS ED is not my first mayor, I am a Computer Sciences Engineer who started teaching CS when I was finishing college and got hooked on it. After two years doing full IT work as the IT officer for Latin America & the Caribbean for a British organization called Christian Aid, I realized that my passion was teaching and therefore I decided to become a teacher for good. I have been a CSTA member since 2008 and am currently one of the two Representatives at Large on the Board of Directors. I am running to serve a second term in the same position. My first experience with the CSTA board was in 2012 when I ran for the International Representative position. At that moment the 2011 version of the CSTA standards was our main focus as it had been recently released. I had the amazing opportunity of working in the Curriculum committee alongside Deborah Seehorn and Tammy Pirmann. One project that I am proud of during this term is getting our standards translated into Spanish which turned out to be a very helpful tool for international members. If you have attended the CSTA conference there is a chance you have seen me at the registration table or volunteering around. Volunteering during a conference is a lot of fun and you get to do some great networking with fellow CS teachers as well as get to know vendors that can provide you with tools that can help your instruction. Working on the board of directors is about having conversations on how to support our teachers in the best way possible. It is bringing the voice of the members to a table of CS leaders that have our best interests at heart. During this time, I’ve had the honor to work with and learn from people that are very well respected in the CS ED area. I would really be honored if our membership allows me to keep on working with the board and see some projects that are on their way to be fulfilled. Thank you for the support you have shown me so far.
Dr. Amy Fox: 9-12 Representative
I am currently the founder and President of the Lower Hudson Valley Chapter, which chartered in the summer of 2015. We currently have over 20 districts involved spanning 3 counties in New York State. I am grateful for the opportunity to potentially serve in this position to help further the goals of the CSTA and our local chapter. I believe working with CSTA members and chapters from all over the country will help me understand the challenges of computer science teachers in diverse school settings and learn about CS policies from all over the country. This knowledge, in turn, can help the chapter grow in our ability to reach out to the greater community and understand NYS computer science policies and trends. It is my goal to both learn from and contribute to the membership in ways that enhance computer science education for all students.
Miles Berry: International Representative
It’s been my privilege to serve the CS education community as the international rep on CSTA’s board for the last couple of years. I’ve had some great opportunities to visit other countries to share what we’re learning about implementing computing education for all back in England, and to learn how other countries are introducing CS in their schools. Let me share four great projects here. For anyone interested in laying a foundation for CS in kindergarten, it’s hard to do better than Linda Liukas’s Hello Ruby work in Finland. Linda has written and illustrated a series of three books, each featuring Ruby, a small girl with powers of logic, perseverance and imagination. Alongside the books, helloruby.com has a great set of unplugged, craft-based activities through which young children can learn computational thinking and what happens inside a computer. New Zealand’s Tim Bell has just received SIGCSE’s outstanding contribution to CS education award. Tim’s CS Unplugged takes some of the harder ideas from CS and makes these accessible to children (and teachers) through practical, classroom based activities. More recently, he and his team have plugged some of this back in, with companion coding activities in Scratch. His CS Field Guide is brilliant too, for those learning or teaching CS at high school level. There are so many fab CS education initiatives in the USA, but if I have to pick one, it would have to be Scratch, from Mitch Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten team at MIT. For me, the wonderful thing about Scratch is not its block-based approach to building (rather than writing) code, but rather the global community of young coders that has grown up around it, with a vibrant culture of sharing, remixing and informal learning. It’s also great how Scratch has led on to the development of other tools like Scratch Jr, Snap! and GP. Finally, I have to mention the ‘problem solving activities for computational thinkers’ textbooks that have been developed by KOFAC in South Korea, covering topics such as AI, the internet of things and gene editing. The books combine authoritative, engaging text with practical activities, some unplugged, but others using Korea’s equivalent of Scratch, Entry. I’ve uploaded English translations to Computing At School’s site at http://bit.ly/psafct. I talk a little about these projects, as well as coding competitions in Singapore, in a presentation I gave at Microsoft in Reading, England last November: https://youtu.be/yxd7V6rEH94.
Kristeen Shabram: K-8 Representative
I am extremely excited to be nominated as one of the candidates for K-8 Representative on the CSTA Board. For the past four years, I have taught computer science at the middle level. During this time, I have worked diligently to bring computer science education to all 7th and 8th grade students in my school district. I have also collaborated with K-6 teachers in my school district on integrating computer science concepts into their curriculum. As a Career and Technical educator, I feel it is my responsibility to equip students with the skills needed to be successful as they enter the workforce. A solid foundation of computer science knowledge is essential to achieving that success. Currently, I am in my second year as Chapter President of my local CSTA chapter. In this role, I am serving as a change agent by providing opportunities for teachers in my community to learn about the latest research, tools, and curriculum in computer science education. I am also working to build a strong network of teachers that are passionate about promoting computer science education in my community. My passion and enthusiasm for helping younger students develop a solid foundation of computer science knowledge is what makes me a strong candidate for the K-8 Representative. If elected, I am motivated to provide teachers with innovative curriculum and professional development opportunities that will equip them with best practices when teaching computer science. If teachers have these resources, it will better prepare them to integrate computer science in their classrooms in relevant and meaningful ways, as well as prepare students for the future.
Chinma Uche: 9-12 Representative
In the summer of 2003, five Connecticut AP Computer Science teachers met to discuss how to support each other as the College Board was switching the language of AP CS A from C++ to Java. After that meeting, Connecticut CSTA (CTCSTA) was formed. CTCSTA started the process of joining the national CSTA body in 2004, and became a chapter of CSTA with myself as President in 2009.
CSTA was a small organization of members who believed that CS should be taught to all students. It comprised of people who were ready to dedicate their time and personal resources to advocate for CS. As a member of the CSTA Leadership Cohort, I formed lasting relationships with other CSTA colleagues, benefited from CSTA training, and advocated for CS education for all students. I presented at conferences nationwide and participated in many panels on CS education.
I took what I learned from CSTA to work in Connecticut. I wrote numerous letters to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), which led to the formation of the CSDE’s CS Advisory Committee. I presented before the Education Committee and others, and have contributed greatly to the growth of CS in Connecticut. As co-creator of Mobile CSP, a College Board endorsed AP CSP course which has trained more than 200 teachers nationwide, I have contributed greatly to the development of CS teachers, leaders, and Master Teachers. CS leaders have been locally grown in Connecticut and are now leading their own projects, in part due to this course and the supportive community in CT. I actively supported bringing ECEP and ECS to Connecticut, to create additional resources for students and teachers. I advocated for teachers to be treated as professionals and paid respectably for their time. Within Connecticut, I negotiated and brought weekend and summer opportunities for CTCSTA members. My support of CS education includes serving as a Code.org Fundamentals facilitator, since 2014, by training K-5 teachers in CS.
I have been a math teacher for more than 30 years and a CS teacher for more than 15 years. CSTA has been supportive of my work and training. CSTA helped me appreciate the role CS plays in national competitiveness, and understand issues of equity and social justice as they relate to CS education. I benefited from the CS community’s willingness to share resources. The support that I received over the years has led me to commit to supporting others. I see the need for thorough training for teachers so they can be confident of their skill levels before going before students. I also see the importance of providing necessary support for teachers during the school year, given the nature of the K-12 teacher’s school day. Currently, I serve on the CSTA Board in the Chapters and Professional Development committees and I ask for your vote to continue to bring my years of experience to CSTA activities. This is important given the need to bring CS to all students, which requires the development of a new skill set for creating an inclusive classroom. I want to remain a voice at CSTA for teachers, as we march towards #CSFORALL.