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C'est la Z

Preparing CS Teachers - the good, the bad, and what's next.

Looking back, what worked and what didn't?

Overall, things went very well. We were extremely happy with the cohort's growth and performance and based on feedback received they were happy with the program so far. I'll also say that while they're not finished yet, I can honestly say that every one of them would be a boon to any school in the city in need of a CS teacher (but they're not available since they're all already teaching CS at their respective schools :-)).

Before we started we felt good about our combination our program - designed by teachers for teachers. Strong pedagogy combined with deep CS content. Now that we're done with the summer, I think it's safe to say that both our design and implementation is sound.

That doesn't mean the program was perfect. We lost one student along the way. That was unfortunate but sometimes the fit isn't there. There are also a few things we'd like to tweak.

First, our pre-work - we required it due to the compressed nature of the summer. Next time around it's going to be available earlier and with more support.

We also want to do a better job with early pacing but now that we've had our first rodeo we can do that.

The one nut we haven't cracked is that due to the teachers experience combined with the pre-work there are some early learning / teaching CS issues that didn't and won't come up naturally as the students are beyond them before our first day. Things like issues that come up when introducing variables or functions. We could just insert them as a unit but that breaks the class flow. I'm still noodling that one but for now they're probably good topics for a school year PD.

What's next?

The cohort will continue with two more courses starting up in just a couple of weeks. One is an Ethics in CS class that I'm really excited about and the other is Curriculum Development. The Curriculum Development class has been a personal project. I had to take three different graduate curriculum development courses over my career and didn't learn a single thing about designing curriculum in any of them. Years ago, before I had any clue I'd be building this program I told myself that if I ever did design and teach any education courses I'd do a curriculum development course and it would be good. Well, her it is. We'll look at the standards and standard offerings but the crux of the course will have the students designing curriculum. Since the course is integrated with the NY State required field work they'll also be implementing what they build with their students. It should be pretty cool.

On top of all this, we also have four students starting in our Masters in CS Education program. Those four are just starting their journey towards becoming teachers. They'll take general pedagogy courses in teh Fall and Spring and then join with our next cohort in the summer to start the CS and CS Ed part of our program.

It's been a long road to get here but now we're here - preparing CS teachers for NY city and state. When I came to Hunter this was one of my two major initiatives. The thought was that regardless how bad the powers that be screw CS education up, if you have great teachers, students have a chance. At Hunter we're preparing those great teachers.

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