In my last blog post, I talked about how hackathons motivated me to learn computer science (CS) because it teaches students valuable team-building skills. Due to my experiences with NYCDA and ScriptEd, I was ready to bring other computer science classes to the Williamsburg Charter High School (WCHS). Another colleague of mine at WCHS was using Code.org to teach her students how to code, so I decided I would start there. As I was researching Code.org’s website, I found that they offered free curricula that high school teachers could use within their classes. They also have many regional partners that offer professional development experiences, so I decided to sign up through Code/Interactive, New York City’s regional partner.
I noticed that Code/Interactive had a variety of CS curriculum supports for teachers. There were a few workshops that would teach me CS content and pedagogy. Many of these opportunities sparked my interest; however, I applied for the AP Computer Science Principles (APCSP) Learning Program, since it was the one that best fit my school’s new CS program. The chance to learn CS, join a community of other APCSP teachers, and the promise of ongoing support lured me into applying. This was my first professional development on CS content and pedagogy and I looked forward to learning new skills.
As I walked into the PD session at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, I did not know what to expect. I had attended many workshops and most of them were sub-par, so I was a little skeptical. Code/Interactive’s PD was different—and better—from what I previously experienced. There were teachers, like me, from a variety of subjects, including math, science, history, and English/language arts. The activities were engaging, challenging, and most importantly, fun. I walked into this session with fear, but Code/Interactive gave me the assurance that everything would be fine. As the week went on, my worries subsided. Code/Interactive prepared me well to teach APCSP. I know this is only the beginning of my journey to teach APCSP, but I now have confidence.