CSTA: CS for ALL, Equity Access, and Bridging Gender and Diversity Gaps

My name is Art Lopez, and it is an honor and privilege to have been elected to serve on CSTA’s Board of Directors as one of the 9-12 representatives. I would like to share with you a story of my journey and involvement with CSTA and Computer Science Education.

I have been teaching for 31 years in a variety of educational settings (middle and high schools and higher ed). Nine years ago, one of my high school students approached and asked me, “Mr. Lopez, why does Torrey Pines and La Jolla High Schools have computer science courses and we do not?” I replied that the student had asked a very good question, and conducted my own research on how many computer science courses were taught in my district.

The Sweetwater Union High School District is located in the South County of San Diego, and includes the border between San Diego, CA and Tijuana, Mexico. It has 13 high schools, 11 middle schools, 42,000 students, 70% diverse, 50% English Language Learners, 50% free/reduced lunch program participants, and not a single school taught a computer science course.

I realized that the students of my district were not being given the same educational opportunities and exposure to computer science education as those students in more privileged communities; I wanted to change this and provide them the same equity access to CS education and the opportunities that the field presents. In our world today, computing and computational thinking is just as important for our children to learn as the “three R’s” (Dr. Beth Simon of UC-San Diego).

I did not have a CS background, but, fortunately, I encountered an opportunity and became involved with a CS education program at UC-San Diego and the San Diego Supercomputer Center through a NSF grant by Dr. Jan Cuny. I discovered that CS education was seriously lacking in public education, and that only one in 10 high schools across the country offered CS courses. Furthermore, a main goal of the NSF grant was to broaden participation of under-represented groups in computer science, both women and ethnically diverse students, and provide equity access of computer science courses at ALL high schools (Dr. Jan Cuny, NSF Program Officer).

Through this new network, I discovered CSTA and joined to connect and network with others on teaching CS. It was a small but passionate and dedicated group interested in providing CS education for all students in the region of San Diego.

Since 2011, I have been engaged and collaborating/working within the CS education community at national, regional, and local levels, including teaching and creating/modifying/providing curriculum and best teaching practices. I also embed strategies for diverse populations for computer science education teachers and undergrads interested in teaching CS.

I have been fortunate to work with so many great people within the CS community; I wanted to share out what I have learned with others in my local area, coordinating and providing CS educators professional development/networking opportunities, access to free curriculum/instructional materials, and connections with industry partners interested in CS education. I immediately thought of the CSTA-San Diego Chapter as being the focal point for accomplishing this goal.

Unfortunately, during 2016- 2017, our local CSTA chapter had met only once. I reached out to our university partners/colleagues and some members of CSTA-San Diego; we created a new board, and worked on the “re-booting” of our chapter. Since then, we have had six general meetings with an attendance of between 50 to 80 CS educators from K-12, higher ed and industry members; the goals of our chapter focuses on equity access, bridging gender and diversity gaps, and providing engaging, rigorous, and all-inclusive CS curriculum (Dr. Susan Yonezawa, UC-San Diego): CS for All.

Because of these efforts, my district this year will offer over 60+ CS courses: AP CSP at 12 and AP CS A at eight high schools, and seven middle school CS courses. CSTA’s role cannot be understated for our members and the children and adults we teach. I want all of you to know that I will do my best to be all-inclusive and be your voice, working and serving with our board of directors, staff and the members of our CSTA community in addressing the issues of equity access, bridging gender and diversity gaps, providing CS FOR ALL, as well as resources and professional development/networking opportunities for our members.

Art Lopez
9-12 Teacher Representative

Announcing the winners of the 2018 Board of Directors elections

Dear CSTA community,

I would like to congratulate the winners of CSTA’s 2018 Board of Directors elections.

We are delighted to welcome new board members Kristeen Shabram (K-8) and Amy Fox (9-12). We welcome continuing Board members Miles Berry (International), Anthony Owen (State Dept), and Michelle Lagos De Javier (At-Large). And we owe a big debt of gratitude to Chinma Uche, who is rotating off the board. Thank you, Chinma!

For more about our new and continuing board members, see http://www.csteachers.org/ElectionResults2018.

K-8 Board Representative Nominees

The 2015 CSTA Board of Directors Elections will run from April 2, 2015 to May 4, 2015. Below is a blog post from one of our K–8 Representative Nominees. The CSTA K-8 Representative is a classroom teacher who is currently teaching or promoting computer science at the pre-high school level.

Candidate personal statements and Q&A responses can be found at http://csta.acm.org/About/sub/AboutFiles/2015Election.html.

When to Code?
Dylan Ryder

I often hear fellow elementary school teachers say that they would love to try coding in the classroom, but that they just can’t find the time in their schedules. Whether constrained by rigid state learning standards or held under the pressure of high stakes testing, educators around the country are sometimes seeing time for other subjects like Music, Art and even Science go by the wayside already – so how could they fit in Computer Science?

For many educators, participating in The Hour of Code is an exciting chance to try something new, but they feel that exactly one hour is all they have room to spare in the curriculum that they have to cover. So when can they code?

My feeling: anywhere and anytime.

It’s my view that an integrated approach to Computer Science education holds an answer to this challenge for elementary school educators. In our daily lives computer programming is a flexible tool that we use to solve problems and model knowledge from any and every other discipline there is. So why can’t we learn computing the same way in the classroom?

I recently heard a wise teacher say that while standards do define what we have to teach, they don’t exactly prescribe how we have to teach it. Think about enhancing any of your other subjects with computer programming activities. I’ve found wonderful opportunities to let students code animations based on their own writing from Literacy class, and I have challenged students to make Math quiz games. Creative coding opportunities abound as well. Code is a fantastic medium for Art and Music integrations – especially when students integrate sensor input as part of their programmed artworks and songs!

Recently, I saw a colleague’s 8th grade Math students showcase their work in the Bootstrap language. As part of their Algebra study, the students spent a few weeks making basic video games that required them to master mathematical concepts such as the coordinate grid, variables, and recursive algorithms. It was an absolute thrill for me to hear the students speak about the functionality of their games in mathematical terms, and more proof to me that there are endless opportunities for CS integration in all subjects.

My name is Dylan Ryder and I am a technology teacher at The School at Columbia University in New York City. I am currently nominated for election to the CSTA Board as K-8 Teacher Representative for the upcoming term. I look forward to the opportunity to serve and help CS education flourish in our schools.


9-12 Board Representative Nominees

The 2015 CSTA Board of Directors Elections will run from April 2, 2015 to May 4, 2015. Below are blog posts from our 9-12 Board Representative Nominees. The CSTA 9-12 Board Representative is a 9–12 classroom teacher who is currently teaching computer science at the high school level.

Candidate personal statements and Q&A responses can be found at http://csta.acm.org/About/sub/AboutFiles/2015Election.html.

Teaching in a Growing Field
Derek Babb

Course registration numbers are in and the news is great! I’ve got a record number of people who have signed up for computer science courses, more than I can actually handle. It is a great problem to have but how does a department grow beyond the number of teachers available?

The shortage of qualified computer science teachers has been well documented here and elsewhere but what exactly does an existing CS teacher need? Do I need an apprentice, someone who teaches math or business that would be interested in learning to teach computer science? Do I need someone who has experience teaching computer science? The numbers really don’t justify a second full-time computer science teacher so I don’t know that bringing in a CS veteran is possible.

I’ve been working with our counselors to see if there are students who might be better prepared for CS in a year, after they’ve had more math and in the case of freshmen, acclimated to high school. Deferring them to buy time and to see how things shake out. I don’t like it. I want to work with all these willing students and I don’t want to risk losing them if they change their interests over the course of the year. At the same time, options are limited and in systems with finite resources, difficult decisions must be made.

I think that CSTA and other organizations have done a good job of showing schools how to get started. What courses to offer, how to begin finding qualified and willing teachers, recruiting students, and building a successful program. I would like to see a model for growth to help schools and districts find the most optimal path forward. I think this is a problem that will be affecting more and more schools across the country and I think CSTA is in a position to be a leader in creating solutions. What a fantastic problem to have.

Derek Babb
9-12 Board Representative

Stephanie Hoeppner, 9-12 Board Representative

I am passionate about computer science education and have been for 16 years.  My efforts first started at our State Technology conference where a colleague and I presented on how to add computer science to your school district.  That was over 12 years ago and I have continued the fight as a Ohio Cohort Leader (now called CSALT) advocating for CS, as an Ohio Chapter Founder and Leader, providing professional development and continuing to coordinate presentations at the State Conference, and most recently as a 9-12 Representative on the CSTA Board working on the Research committee, Chapter committee, and the Publications Committee.   I enjoy working with the other CS leaders in advocating, supporting and providing resources for other CS teachers.

While this may read as a resume list, it is not.  It is a testament to my continued volunteer work for promoting and maintain CS education.  While CS is growing in numbers of courses, efforts, and teachers it is important that we keep the movement going.  By working in all of the above facets for several years I have seen the slow but steady fruits of our CSTA labors.  I want to continue working on the CSTA Board gathering data, providing resources, and working for you.
Members should take time to consider who to vote for and I encourage you to view our statements on the CSTA election page.  From my statements you should see that I am passionate about CS, a hard worker, and I have contributed as much as possible to supporting CS Education.  Please vote and allow me to continue working for you.
Thank you,
Stephanie Hoeppner
9-12 Board Representative Nominee

At-Large Board Representative Nominees

The 2015 CSTA Board of Directors Elections will run from April 2, 2015 to May 4, 2015. Below are blog posts from our At-Large Board Representative Nominees. The CSTA At-Large Representative is an educator with responsibilities for K–12 CS education.

Candidate personal statements and Q&A responses can be found at http://csta.acm.org/About/sub/AboutFiles/2015Election.html.

Arkansas’s New High School CS Requirement
Daniel Moix 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson made good on his campaign promise to “offer coding in every high school” last month by signing Arkansas House Bill 1183 into law.  It’s an exciting time for the growing community of CS educators in the state as we scramble to help make the governor’s vision a reality.  The Arkansas chapter of CSTA has been an integral part of the achievements thus far, but we have much more to do in the coming months.

The law requires the over 270 public and charter high schools in the state to offer a high-quality Computer Science course which meets standards established by the Arkansas Department of Education.  The law also charges the state’s online high school, Virtual Arkansas, with offering CS courses to all districts in the state at no charge.  Finally, it establishes a 15-member task force to research, review, and recommend curriculum standards and to make recommendations to meet anticipated CS and technology workforce needs.

Governor Hutchinson’s ambitious goal is to have students across the state learning Computer Science in all schools by August, 2015.  To make this vision a reality, several efforts are already underway.  Curriculum Frameworks for Computer Science and Mathematics, an introductory computer programming course designed to count as a fourth-year mathematics credit, were developed in late 2014.  Frameworks for Essentials of Computer Programming were completed in early 2015.  Both courses draw heavily from the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards, and members of CSTA Arkansas were on the respective committees.  Virtual Arkansas is in the process of implementing both of these courses as well as AP Computer Science A in their online learning environment.

There are also professional development initiatives planned to meet the demand for CS teachers.  First, CSTA Arkansas is working with colleges and universities around the state to offer summer workshops for teachers licensed in other content areas who are interested in learning to teach CS.  The chapter is also submitting a CS4HS grant application to request funding from Google to help build our community of practice.  The state’s second Computer Science Education Summit, planned to be held in October, will feature a track of sessions to support novice CS teachers.  Other ongoing initiatives are also building out the community, including the roll-out of a three-year program of study in Mobile Application Development beginning with tools like App Inventor and GameSalad but transitioning to XCode, Eclipse, and Android Studio.  Training for this program will also happen this summer for 8-10 new teachers.

Arkansas has no teacher licensure system in place for Computer Science educators.  Early efforts proposed by the Arkansas Department of Education would have required Computer Science teachers be No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Highly-Qualified Teachers (HQT) in Mathematics.  As it stands, any licensed educator may teach CS courses, but fourth-year math credit will only being granted to those students taught by NCLB HQT in math.  Arkansas is partnering with Education Testing Service (ETS), which is currently developing a multi-state Praxis exam for Computer Science.  We believe this exam will be required for CS licensure in the future.

It’s an exciting time to be a Computer Science educator in Arkansas, but we have a long road ahead of us.  The role of CSTA Arkansas will be to inform the standards as they are developed and revised, identify and prepare new CS teachers, support existing teachers and CS programs, and inform the new CS Education Task Force.

Daniel Moix teaches Mobile Application Development at Bryant High School in Bryant, Arkansas. He is CSTA Arkansas Vice-President, a member of the CSTA Computer Science Advocacy Leadership Team (CSALT), a member of the Councils of Chief State School Officers’ Computer Science Advisory Group, and a candidate for the CSTA Board of Directors At-Large Representative.

CSTA – More Than Ever
Alfred Thompson

Ten years ago when CSTA started it often felt like we were a bit of a lone voice advocating for computer science education. Today a lot has changed. There are many others advocating. For profit companies and nonprofit organizations alike are pushing for more CS education. The government at local, state and national levels has taken notice. Computer Science students are showing up at White House Science Fairs and the President of the United States is writing code. As a long time member and more recently a Board member of the CSTA I get asked if the CSTA is still needed. Of course this question comes from people outside of education. My answer is a resounding “more than ever.”

When one looks at the resources and guidance that others are using the CSTA is the source. One can’t discuss certification and licensure of CS teachers without referencing CSTA research. Anyone developing CS curriculum today looks to the CSTA CS Standards for guidance. Advocates for more CS education quote research from CSTA at every opportunity. Other organizations are dependent on the work that CSTA has done for the last ten years.

But there is more to it. CSTA is THE organization for K-12 computer science educators. It is the organization of teachers for teachers. CSTA provides the community of practice that is essential for the growth of computer science education. CSTA Chapters provide local and regional learning opportunities as the chance to share ideas with peers. The Annual CSTA Conference is still the premier CS education professional development for K-12 computer science educators. CSTA is the bridge among teachers that spans local and regional issues.

I believe that the more computer science education grows the more we need CSTA. I urge all members to get involved in their local chapters, take advantage of CSTA resources and help our organization to grow. We’re all in this together!

Alfred Thompson
At-Large Member, CSTA Board

Q&A: Running for the CSTA Board

The deadline for applying to run for the CSTA Board of Directors is rapidly approaching (Feb. 1).  In case you were on the fence about applying for the board, here are answers to five of the most common questions that potential candidates ask:

Q: How much work is involved in being a Board member? 
A: You have probably seen the phrase “the CSTA Board is a working board” in several places.  What this means is that members of the Board are expected to help carry out the business of the organization – not just advise or supervise.  This includes two face-to-face board meetings, one held in conjunction with the CSTA Annual Conference and another held in the late fall.  While these meetings are packed and productive, most of the Board’s business is conducted throughout the year by committees, with individuals working from home and coordinating via phone conferences. The time commitment can vary by task, e.g., the work conducted by the Elections & Nominations Committee is concentrated around setting up and running the annual elections, and is light during other times of the year. On average, I would guess that the workload averages out to 2-4 hours per week.

Q: Are Board members expected to cover their own travel expenses to meetings?
A: No, expenses for travel are reimbursed (within reason) following CSTA’s travel policy guidelines.  This includes travel, hotel, and meals at Board meetings.  It also includes expenses related to attending the CSTA Annual Conference, since Board members are expected to attend this event and help out by proctoring sessions and assisting with registration.  A copy of the travel policy is provided to all newly elected Board members.

Q: Why are there different positions on the Board, such as 9-12 Representative and At-Large Representative? 
A: The mission of CSTA is a broad one, promoting K-12 CS education and supporting the interests and professional development of our 18,000+ members.  It is essential that the Board have a diversity of perspectives and experiences to address the issues and challenges that arise in the organization’s business.  Each position has requirements to ensure that key perspectives are represented on the Board.  For example, the 9-12 Representative is required to be a “9–12 classroom teacher who is currently teaching computer science at the high school level.”  Once on the Board, all members are equal in status and welcome to contribute to all initiatives.

Q: If I apply for a position, does that automatically mean I will be on the ballot?
A: Unfortunately, no.  According to the CSTA bylaws, the election ballot will list at most two candidates for each open Board position.  If more than two qualified candidates submit applications, the Elections & Nominations Committee is charged with selecting the two most outstanding candidates to be placed on the ballot.  Committee members independently rank the candidates using a rubric that considers factors such as leadership skills and experience, understanding of core issues in CS education, and alignment of goals to CSTA’s mission.  While this model does sometimes mean that highly qualified candidates do not make the ballot, it does allow for us to keep the ballot size manageable while still providing detailed statements from each candidate.

Q: Why should I consider running for the CSTA Board?
A: Serving on the CSTA Board of Directors is an extremely rewarding opportunity to give back to the teaching community.  Board members help to set the vision for the organization and work to promote CS education on a global scale.  Their work supports and provides professional development for CSTA’s more than 18,000 members.  In addition, working closely with other amazing educators is rewarding in itself.

Download the 2015 CSTA Nominations Form at http://csta.acm.org/About/sub/AboutFiles/2015Election.html.

Dave Reed
Chair-elect, CSTA Board of Directors

What’ Not to Love About NYC Pilot Program

In February, I had the pleasure of attending Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement of the new Software Engineering Pilot Program for New York City schools. This program will begin in September, 2013, in 20 middle and high schools. It is a very interesting program in many ways, designed for students in grades 6 through 12. In the first year alone the curriculum topics include programming, embedded electronics, web design, e-textiles, robotics, and mobile programming. There are plans for elective courses in digital fabrication, 3-D printing, and animation.
What’s not to love about this new program? Well, a few things.
First, the professional development does not yet exist for the teachers who will deliver the new curriculum. But somehow things are supposed to be in place by this summer.
Second, participating schools will have to apply for NY State Education Department approval, they don’t start out with that approval. If they get approval, then graduating students will get a Career and Technical Education endorsement. While that endorsement can be very important for students, my reading of this is that the program is not considered an academic computer science track.
Third, this program does nothing to address two key issues that face the vast majority of states. Like many states, New York does not allow Computer Science to count as a math or science requirement for high school graduation. In addition, New York does not have any endorsement or certification for Computer Science teachers.
To be clear, I think it is wonderful that New York City is launching this new program, and I look forward to seeing how it works out. But I hope New York City will take advantage of the opportunity to provide significant leadership for the rest of the state, potentially pressuring the state Department of Education to make changes in how CS “counts”. I’d love to see elements of this program count toward students’ math or science requirements, and align with either the Exploring Computer Science or CS Principles curricula. For now I’ll just have to wait and see.
Valerie Barr
Candidate for College Faculty Representative

Why am I Running for the CSTA Board?

Who am I and why am I running for the CSTA Board? I am someone who is deeply committed to computer science education. As an educator, as a software professional, and as someone who sees himself as a computer science education activist, I have been involved in the field of computer science my whole adult life. The field has been good to me and I want to give back. One way I believe I can give back is by working to support CS education and CS educators as a member of the CSTA board.
Roughly 18 years ago, following roughly 18 years working as a software professional, I entered the teaching profession. Over a 9 year period I taught computer science and computer usage to students from kindergarten through high school. Most of that time I taught high school computer science including the APCS course. During that time I was able to meet many wonderful teachers at professional development events and conferences around the country. In part that experience lead me to a 9 year sojourn back in industry where my job was to help CS educators with curriculum, some occasional hardware, some training and most of all a lot of free professional software. During this time I was able to meet with even more outstanding teachers, administrators and industry leaders in all parts of the country. This was an awesome learning experience for me. I have tried to share what I have learned with others as much as I can. I think we all need to share in order for the field of CS education to flourish.
These days I am back in the classroom trying to fill high school students heads with knowledge of and excitement for computer science. It is also time for me to get even more involved with CSTA. I have been involved in the CSTA Conference since the early years of the CS & IT Symposium as an attendee, as a speaker and a member of the program committee. I have attended and spoken at CSTA chapter meetings in several states as well. Today I feel that I can and should be even more active in the governance of the organization I respect very much.
With previous experience on education related boards (a school board, district budget committee) advisory board memberships for universities and career technical high schools and membership on working groups like the ACM/IEEE CS 2013 Curriculum task force, I bring significant experience to the CSTA Board; a working board if ever there was one. As an At large member of the Board it will be my responsibility to represent a broad cross-section of the CSTA membership. I feel as though it is a role for which I have been preparing for over the last several years. I hope you’ll support me with your vote.
Alfred Thompson
At-Large Candidate for the CSTA Board

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

Message from Dave Burkhart

Hello Everyone
As one of the candidates for the CSTA Board of Directors, I am writing to ask for your support in this election.
When someone is first elected to the CSTA Board of Directors, she or he might think that what we do is sit around and give our opinions, but my experience as a Director has taught me that this Board is different from those of organizations because it is a “working Board.” This means that the Directors participate directly, not just in the policy making, but in managing projects and creating new resources intended to help us meet our mission and serve our members.
Serving as the Chair of the Membership Committee, I’ve come to realize not only how large our membership has become (more than 8300 members!) but how diverse. We have members from every level of education, from every kind of teaching situation, and from over 100 countries. So figuring out how to continually improve how we meet the needs of all of these members is a big job that requires hard work by both Board and staff members.
The Member Satisfaction Survey is one of the most concrete examples of how CSTA continually monitors the usefulness of our current projects, the needs of our members, and their suggestions for new resources and services. This survey (and your participation in it) allows us to ground our decisions and activities in real data. It also gives us a good idea of where to put future resources to provide more or improved member benefits.
As a candidate for the 9-12 Representative position, I promise that if I am elected, I will to continue to work to find new and better ways to serve your needs and to make sure that your voice continues to be a driving force for everything that CSTA does.
If you are a CSTA member, you should have received an email from ElectionBuddy that provides a link to the online election ballot. Please take the time to review the candidate materials:
and the information about the proposed changes to our by-laws:
And be sure to cast your vote before the election closes on May 1, 2011.
Thanks very much.
Dave Burkhart
Sheridan High School