Last Friday concluded the summer portion of Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program. It was an intense month. All day every day from June 28th through July 30. On the one hand between burnout and covid fatigue it was a tough month and I'm dealing with some much needed recovery this week. On the other hand, working with JonAlf, Topher, new team member Genady along with around 25 amazing teachers and teacher candidates made it a highlight of the year.
last year, the cohort was entirely in service teachers. This year we added three Masters students into the mix. I know we had the states first certified CS teachers with last years cohort but I'm also wondering if we'll have the state's first newly minted teachers with a Masters in CS Ed when they finish come May.
Hopefully, this years cohort members are all getting some rest and relaxation through August and then we'll kick off again with the school year when they'll complete the program in Fall and Spring.
There were some changes from last time around. This time, we were only able to run 3 classes during the summer - Programming, Data Structures, and Methods 1. Last year we ran four - these three plus topics in CS. It was nice getting 12 credits done all at once but the switch to 3 classes was probably a good thing. A less good thing though was that on the state's insistence we had to teach the courses independently as opposed to in an integrated fashion. The idea was that this way, people wouldn't have to take all three but the reality was that we had a cohort moving through the program as one.
While for the most part, the programming and data structures should be independent we lost a good deal of value not being able to integrate methods in at the same time. Still overall, based on our perceptions and student ratings, things worked well.
In the fall the cohort will continue with Ethics and Computer Science along with Curriculum Development and then two final classes in the Spring.
This will give us close to 50 certified teachers in NY state which, while not close to enough is a good start. We're hoping to more than double that with next years cohort.
The biggest obstacle we have is that our program requires some fundamental knowledge in a text based programming language and as it turns out, very few teachers currently teaching CS in NYC have that. To help address this, we'll start offering free workshops in the Fall to get current teachers up to speed so they'll be more than ready for our program come cohort three.
If you're a CS teacher in NYC, keep an eye out for those when the school year starts.