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C'est la Z

Preparing teachers to teach CS

Now that the summer portion of Hunter College's Advanced Certificate in Teaching Computer Science is over I thought I'd do a postmortem. That is, a few posts about what we did and how it all went.

First, though, an overview of the program.

The Advanced Certificate program is geared towards teachers who are currently certified in another subject area who wish to earn an additional New York State teaching certificate in Computer Science. Aspiring teachers - people who don't currently have either a Masters degree or any teaching certification can enroll in our Masters in Computer Science Education program. We're starting a small cohort of five on that in the Fall.

The certificate program consists of a bunch of graduate classes plus field work which is required by the state. Over the summer we covered four of the classes.

  • Programming - essentially a CS1 type course.
  • Data Structures - since K12 teachers should go deeper than the last HS course which is typically APCS-A.
  • Topcs in Compute rScience - since K12 teachers need a wide breadth of CS knowledge.
  • Methods - since teachers need to know how to teach CS.

In the fall, we'll continue with Ethics in Computer Science and Curriculum Development which also includes the field work.

For this summer we started with a cohort of 22 practicing teachers but lost one along the way. They all came from different schools and we had all five boroughs represented. Most of the teachers worked in high schools but we had some middle school representation and in terms of current certifications, we had at least math, special ed, and science represented but that's something we didn't officially track.

Staffing wise, it was me along with two of my long time collaborators JonAlf Dyrland-Weaver and Topher Mykolyk. JonAlf and Topher are two of the best educators out there and part of my former core team at Stuy. That team is the biggest thing I still miss having come over to Hunter. They're quite simply the best.

The program ran basically all day every day during the month of July. we knew it would be tight so we also added on some pre-work which made sure all participants had some experience with Java prior to our official start.

More will be revealed over the next few posts but I'll spoil the ending - I'm super proud of our 21 participants - while they still have more work to do to earn their certifications, if I ran a school, I'd love to have any of them teaching my CS classes.

I'm not planning on writing much about the programming and data structure classes except possibly through the methods eye because both of those courses are pretty well established and cut and dry but I do plan to write at least the following:

  1. The methods course
  2. More on the methods course
  3. The topics course
  4. Use of tools for remote teaching
  5. Our overall philosophy in designing and running the program.

So, stay tuned for more.

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