About Tammy Pirmann

CSTA Board Member District Representative K-12 Coordinator of Computer Science High School Computer Science Teacher

CSTA2016 Submissions and Reviews

The review period for next summer’s annual conference just ended, and we will have an amazing program for you! For this conference we will have workshops, one hour sessions, 20 minute short talks and birds of a feather networking opportunities. Almost one hundred professionals in the field of computer science education reviewed the submissions. Every continent was represented as well as every level and type of education.

The next step is arguably the toughest. The planning team met in late-October to determine the actual program. We want this conference to be the best professional development and conference for K-12 computing educators, so we put a lot of effort into balancing all of the offerings.

I look forward to seeing you in San Diego in July of 2016!

Tammy Pirmann
Review Chair, CSTA 2016
CSTA Board Member, District Representative

Certification Committee Update

The Certification Committee of CSTA is responsible for coordinating efforts around computer science teacher certification in the United States.

The CSTA Wisconsin Chapter is part of a consortium with University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and Marquette University to provide an alternate path to certification for teachers who already hold a valid certificate in another discipline. It uses a combination of existing courses and training opportunities along with MOOCs and a faculty observer to provide a CS add-on certification.

If you have anything interesting happening in your state around computer science teacher certification, we would like to hear about it!

Tammy Pirmann
Chair, Certification Committee
CSTA Board Member, District Representative

Bottom-Up Advocacy

If you look back through American history for examples of successful grassroots movements that led to policy changes you may notice a few common threads. Trade unions emerged due to the industrial revolution, urbanization, and the reduction of family farms. The civil rights movement followed occupational and geographic changes for black families. The anti-war movement rose due to the draft that affected every 18 year old male in the United States to fight in an unpopular war. In each case there was a period of growing expectations that was followed by widespread disappointment.

If there is a grassroots movement for widespread adoption of computer science education, are we in the growing expectations phase or the widespread disappointment phase?  Can we get to substantial policy changes without the disappointment phase?

What has to happen in order for the average parent to demand rigorous computer science education in the K-12 public school system? If parents were to persist in demanding it, it would happen within a short span of years in most school systems. Looking back through history for how the average citizen was moved to act, we see that a few impassioned people at the local level have had an amazing impact, most notably in developing and inspiring local leaders. Trade unions, civil rights, the anti-war movement, all started with local leaders who inspired others to demand change.

Make it a point to attend your local CSTA chapter meetings this year, or if there is no chapter near you, start one.

CSTA Certification Committee

Have you taken at any time a computer science teaching methods course?
If so, at what university or college?

I hope you answered these questions on the recent survey from CSTA. The answers to these two questions will help the Certification Committee determine which Colleges and Universities are offering a Computer Science Teaching Methods course. Most certification paths include a methods course in the discipline.http://csta.acm.org/ComputerScienceTeacherCertification/sub/CertReportCover.jpg

Some information is very difficult to pin down and teacher certification for computer science is one them! When we asked you how computer science teachers are certified in your state, we often received multiple and contradictory reports. After all of the research and verification was done, we published the “Bugs in the System: Computer Science Teacher Certification in the U.S.” white paper and its corresponding interactive site.

Look for an update to the interactive map of the US based on the information you provided in the most recent survey.

Did you hear?

CSV, Resume, Glasses

Photo courtesy of Ben-Avraham

At this time of year, you may be hearing this phrase just before some news about a colleague retiring, taking a new position, or deciding to stay home with the children. Spring is the season of applications and resumes for educators all around the country.

If you haven’t checked out the CSTA Job Board yet, now is the time! So often we are the only Computer Science teacher in a school and having to find a new position can seem daunting. As a job seeker, the Job Board allows you to upload your resume and even set up search alerts to let you know when a position is posted that meets your criteria!

What if you are in the envious situation of having done such an excellent job of recruiting that your school needs to hire another Computer Science teacher? Tell your Human Resources department about the CSTA Job Board. Your school wants to have a highly qualified applicant pool for such an important position. They can get that from the CSTA Job Board, where they can look at many resumes and post a detailed job description.

CSTA Career and Job Center

Tammy Pirmann
District Representative, CSTA Board of Directors


SIGCSE is the annual conference for the special interest group of ACM that is focused on computer science education. It is always a great event, and if you have never attended, you should put it on your radar for next year! CSTA Board Members and Chapter members will be a presence at SIGCSE this year in many different ways.

Here’s where you can find us:

CSTA Booths #116 and 118 in the Exhibitor Hall.

Helping to pull the whole awesome affair together are John Dougherty (CSTA-Phila) and Ria Galanos (CSTA-VA).


Teaching to Diversity in Computer Science from 1:00pm – 4:30pm with Helen Hu (CSTA-UT).

CS Teaching Tips Tip-A-Thon from 1:00pm – 4:00pm with Stephanie Hoeppner (CSTA Board Member) and many others.


NSF showcase – Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning in CS with Clif Kussmaul (CSTA-Phila), Helen Hu (CSTA-UT) and Daniel Libby.

Computer Science Principles Curricula: On-the-ground, Adoptable, Adaptable, Approaches to Teaching from 1:45pm – 3:00pm with Owen Astrachan (CSTA-Triangle East), Jeff Gray (CSTA-AL) and others.

Supporting the Computer Science Learning Process from 3:45pm – 5:00pm with Pat Yongpradit (CSTA-MD) and others.

BOF – Computer Science Principles: Expanding the Community from 5:30pm –  6:20pm with Owen Astrachan (CSTA-Triangle East), Fran Trees (CSTA Chapter Liaison), Rich Kick (CSTA-Southern CA) and others.

BOF – What Math is the Right Math for Computing? from 5:30pm – 6:20pm with John Dougherty (CSTA-Phila).

BOF – Teaching Algebra and Computing through Bootstrap and Program by Design from  5:30pm – 6:20pm with Emmanuel Schanzer (CSTA member)

BOF – Teaching Algebra and Computing through Bootstrap and Program by Design from 5:30pm – 6:20pm with Emmanuel Schanzer (CSTA member)

BOF – Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) in Computer Science from 5:30pm – 6:20pm with Clif Kussmaul (CSTA-Phila) and Helen Hu (CSTA-UT) and others.

BOF – Partnering to Promote State-by-State Computing Education Reform from 6:30pm – 7:20pm with Barb Ericson (CSTA-GA).

BOF – Addressing Professional Development Needs for K-12 CS – Working with Your Local CSTA Chapter  from 6:30pm – 7:20pm with Dave Reed (CSTA Board Chair-Elect) and Fran Trees (CSTA Chapter Liaison).


Using POGIL Activities to Teach CS Principles to Diverse Students, a Poster by Helen Hu (CSTA-UT)

A Case Study on Adding Computer Science as a Math Graduation Elective: A Report from the Alabama CS/Mathematics Crosswalk Committee, a Poster by Jeff Gray, et al (CSTA-AL)

Research, Resources and Communities: Informal Ed as a Partner in Computer Science Education, a panel with Irene Lee (CSTA Chair Computational Thinking Task Force) from 10:45am – noon

Papers: Focus on K-12 Professional Development with Chinma Uche (CSTA-CT), Terry Harvey and Lori Pollock (CSTA-DE) and Deepa Muralidhar (CSTA-GA) from 1:45pm – 3:00pm

One-Day Activities for K-12 Face-to-Face Outreach (Panel) on Friday from 3:45pm – 5:00pm. Barb Ericson (CSTA-GA) and Jeff Gray (CSTA-AL) are on the panel.

Perspectives on Adopting and Facilitating Guided Inquiry Learning with Helen Hu (CSTA-UT), Clif Kussmaul (CSTA-Phila) and Deepa Muralidhar (CSTA-GA) from 3:45pm – 5:00pm.

Conducting Educational Research in the Computer Science Classroom: Choosing the Appropriate Research Design to Address your Research Questions from 7:00pm – 10:00pm with Aman Yadav (CSTA Board Member)

How to Plan and Run Summer Computing Camps – Logistics #14 from 7:00pm – 10:00pm with Barb Ericson (CSTA-GA)

Small or Liberal Arts Colleges Adapting to CS2013: Making it Work from 7:00pm – 10:00pm with Dave Reed (CSTA Board Chair-Elect)

The Internet, Creativity and Global Impact: Curriculum Modules from 7:00pm – 10:00pm with Andrew Kuemmel (CSTA-WI) and Rich Kick (CSTA-Southern CA)

Infusing Cooperative Learning into Early Computer Science Courses to Support Improved Engagement from 7:00pm – 10:00pm with Jeff Gray (CSTA-AL), Fran Trees (CSTA Chapter Liaison), Owen Astrachan (CSTA-Triangle East)


App Inventor Breakfast is co-hosted by Fred Martin (CSTA Board Member)

Scaling High School Computer Science: Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles from 9:00am – 10:15am with Owen Astrachan (CSTA-Triangle East), Jeff Gray (CSTA-AL), and others.

Decoding CS Principles – A Curriculum from Code.org from 3:00pm – 6:00pm with Baker Franke (CSTA-Chicago) and Pat Yongpradit (CSTA-MD)


The Certification Committee

The Certification Committee is primarily concerned with issues surrounding teacher certification for Computing teachers. Our most recent effort was the publication of the white paper, Bugs in the System: Computer Science Teacher Certification in the U.S.. This was a substantial effort of members from almost every state! You can see the state map that resulted from this work, where each state has a color code based on whether or not that state has a certification for HS, for MS or no certifications at all. One of the criteria is Computer Science as a required course, but not one state had that in 2013.

Currently, we are working on a public response to the Teacher Preparation Regulations being proposed by the U.S. Dept of Education. Public comments close on February 2, 2015.

On our website, you will find the Certification section at the bottom of the left side navigation. We currently have two links, one to the resources which include downloadable PDFs of our two white papers as well as information on a methods course for teacher prep programs. The second link is to an interactive map of the United States. Each state contains answers to three questions: Is Computer Science a required course? Is there a Middle School Computer Science teacher certification? and Is there a High School Computer Science teacher certification?  Soon, we will be adding a link to this page to allow our members to self-report changes to these questions for their state. Advocacy for Computer Science education is having an effect on this data, and we would like to keep this information current.

Who is on the Certification Committee?
Chair – Tammy Pirmann
Members – Deborah Seehorn, Aman Yadav, Stephanie Hoeppner, and Lissa Clayborn

CS Ed Week Promotion in Your City

The Philadelphia skyline is sporting a bright promotion of CS Ed Week thanks to the efforts of CSTA Philly founding member, Mary-Angela Papalaskari and Villanova University. The PECO building has a scrolling light crown that often draws attention to worthy events in and around the city.

The PECO website has a page devoted to the crown lights and how to request a message. Mary-Angela submitted the request many weeks ago in preparation for CS Ed Week. PECO informed her in October that the request was approved and would be the crown lights message for the beginning of this week! Here is a 30 second video of the scrolling message that is currently visible all over the city:

This is a great idea if you live or work near a city. Many cities have a building with crown lights, just give yourself plenty of time to negotiate the request process and follow all the rules to get your own message up in lights!

Tammy Pirmann
District Representative, CSTA Board of Directors

Computer Science Open House for CS Ed Week

Are you starting to think about what you want to do for Computer Science Education Week (Dec 8-14, 2014)? There is more than just the Hour of Code (although that’s a great way to get ALL the students involved)!

Every year, I have a Computer Science Open House. It is one night at the high school with three guest speakers, about twenty colleges with computing majors, and one student showcase table for each of my courses. We celebrate Grace Hopper’s birthday with cake or cupcakes and punch. I invite all of the high school and middle school students and their families. Each group has a different reason to attend, but the guest speakers are a hit with most.

The guest speakers typically come from three groups: one will be someone working as a computer scientist in the “tech” industry; one will be an IT or CS person working in any “non-tech” industry; and the last person will be a college professor of CS or IT. When possible, one of these speakers is also an alumni of my program. Each speaker has ten minutes for a prepared speech and Q&A, then has a table for the rest of the event. When the three speakers are finished, we serve the refreshments and our guests are free to walk around to all the tables and talk to the people that interest them.

Select students man the tables for my courses and each student has a project to showcase to the public. This gives them something concrete to talk about, and the younger students love to see what they will be able to do after taking some courses in Computer Science.

Overall, a Computer Science Open House is a great event that helps you market the CS courses at your school, allows your students to shine and gives them the opportunity to hear from current professionals and to talk to many colleges with interesting majors.

Tammy Pirmann
School District Representative

Teacher Collaboration

What do two college professors, two high school teachers and a pre-service teacher have in common? CSTA membership!

I spent several enjoyable weeks this summer working with a great group of CSTA members to create a set of POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry) activities for each of the Big Ideas in Computer Science Principles. The net result is over 20 activities that are being tested in a number of classrooms this school year.

Every one of us is a member of CSTA, and most of us started the summer as members of the local chapter; by the end of the summer even the pre-service teacher joined the local chapter. The opportunities that CSTA members have to find friends and colleagues who “speak the language” of our discipline is one of the most valuable benefits of being a member.

Our collaboration took on many forms. Some days we all met at Haverford College to work together on activities or brainstorm, other days saw us each working from our homes using the Internet to connect and review each other’s work.

If you are interested in working collaboratively with another teacher, I suggest heading to your next local chapter meeting to start building those relationships! Links to Chapter sites are on our website.

Tammy Pirmann
School District Representative, CSTA Board of Directors