I've been running Hunter's teacher certification program now for three years. We started with our Advanced Certificate which allows currently working teachers to earn an additional cert in CS and soon a few masters students joined the pipeline.
In three years we've made great progress. Approximately 45 New York City teachers are either state certified to teach CS or are qualified to recieve the certification once they file with the state. We've got close to 60 more joining them this spring. That's really exciting as it gets us to the critical mass I think the city needs moving forward.
A core of knowledgeable teachers to provide an existing community of professionals as new young CS teachers join the profession over the next few years.
This work something I'm both proud and excited about but there are two major concerns.
First, there are many teachers teaching CS in NY that have no intention of earning the new certification and also don't really know the subject.
Second, this is only New York City and NY is a big state and not enough is happening in other parts of the state.
I'll talk about the first issue in my next post but for now, let's talk about the state.
A big thing I'm excited about with my current cohort of teachers is that five of them are from the Finger Lakes region of NY. About a year ago, I was essentially cold called by educators from the Dryden school district. They wanted to make sure they had knowledgeable CS teachers and saw that we had an advanced certificate program. They wanted to send their teachers to us for certification. There were issues - for funding, they ended up applying and receiving an NSF grant and on my end, I had to make sure that our program would remain remote - that commute from the Finger Lakes would've been brutal. When all was said and done, we started this past summer with over 50 teachers and teacher candidates from New York City and 5 from Dryden and neighboring Groton. Those five teachers have been a terrific addition to the cohort and I think it's also worked for them - they immediately become a local network of CS teachers as opposed to being the only one in town and they've also tapped into the New York City network we've been building.
This means we've planted 2 flags in NY State - two locations that have or will soon have certified CS teachers. The ones that have finished my program in NYC along with the five from Dryden and Groton.
The trouble is, we need more.
Right now, there are 5 institutions with register masters program in New York State and 3 wither registered bachelors programs. I can't vouch for the quality of any programs other than mine and I don't know how many are active.
Regardless, the issue here is that these are all programs that provide initial certification - they're for new people entering the profession. These programs are needed but will ramp up slowly across the state. At Hunter we've had registrations of 2, 4, and now most recently 5.
We need more Advanced Certificate programs across the state. Programs that allow current CS teachers to learn this new field so they can teach it legally and teach it well. Right now, Hunter's the only game in town. This is one of the reasons why I've fought to keep us online - you can't expect teachers from way out in queens to come into the heart of Manhattan after a school day for classes and then back out LI or wherever they live let alone teachers from 4 hours north of the city.
We need more Advanced Certification programs and we need ways to fund the teachers who need these programs. I've been extremely fortunate that organizations like Gotham Gives and Google support our work in New York City but I'm thinking we need the equivalent up the Hudson Valley, across the Erie Canal and all the way to Buffalo.
These programs and the related funding also wouldn't have to last forever. After there years of intense work, NYC will have its core of certified teachers and I expect the demand for my advanced cert program to go way down while we slowly see an uptick in interest in our Masters program.
Next time, I'll talk about that other issue - the fact that we're going to have a lot of teachers that don't really know CS and how to teach it for a long time but this is enough for now.
We need more programs across the state that will recertify current teachers and really set them up as CS teachers. I've done what I could in that regard at Hunter and am very proud of our partnership with Dryden and Groton but it's got to be more than Hunter college.
So, hey, if you're somewhere outside of the city and this is important to you - drop me a line, I'd love to work together to make things happen across the state.