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C'est la Z

2017 in review - K12 CS Education

It's been a big year for K12 CS education. More and more states looking into CS as a K12 academic area and all that entails, the CS4All movement is well underway and the College Board launched a new exam. These are just three of many big things that happened in the past year.

I'm excited about the overall growth but concerned about a number of issues. I've written about all of them in the past so won't rehash here and in any event, the issues I'm concerned about are issues I have no influence on.

Instead I thought I'd look at some local CS Ed happenings. Things where I have been able to contribute.

Probably the biggest thing happening that I've been involved with is New York State's moving forward on CS teacher certification. I developed CS teacher preparation programs at Hunter and Hunter's been one of the voices talking to the state. I'd like to believe I had some small positive voice in this effort.

Related are the programs that are one piece of form and one committee short of being approved. Very soon Hunter will have CS teacher preparation programs - a full Masters program, a certificate program and an Alt Cert program. While no program is perfect, I'm very proud in what I designed and am confident that any teacher that completes a Hunter program will be amazingly well prepared to teach CS. Not just the popular curricula being offered today and not just the out of the box curricula being lauded by others. Our teachers will be empowered to create their own custom educational experiences appropriate for their kids.

I've said before that I believe in teacher over curriculum. A great teacher can save the worst course but the best curriculum can't save a weak teacher. No matter what happens with CS Ed as a whole, I know that the CS teachers we prepare at Hunter will be top flight. Kids in their classes will be alright regardless of what the education machine tries to impose on them.

The other thing I've been working on, albeit in a limited way is professional development. There's a lot of CS PD around but most of it seems to be either for the younger levels or the intro levels. Very little for APCS-A let alone beyond. This past November I was able to host teachers from a handful of schools on Election Day for what everyone felt was one of their more productive PD experiences. We're following this up with another one in the Spring but this time we're expanding. I've been talking to friends at TEALS so as to get more teachers and schools involved. There's a lot of value in connecting teachers with each other and I hope that I'm helping to do that.

I'm looking forward to 2018. I'm told that NYSED should vote on CS certification in March and my programs should also be on the books around then. The challenge will be building capacity since I can't do this as a one man show.

I'm very proud of what we've accomplished at Hunter on both the education side and the CS side. It's been a good year and I expect 2018 to be a better one.

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