Infosys Foundation USA and CSTA came together this July in Chicago to recognize the distinguished achievements of some very special computer science educators who worked tirelessly, despite the challenges of the past year, to spark the imaginations of their students in an inclusive and innovative way. While the educators listed below had their moment in the spotlight at the awards ceremony, the perspectives they shared off-stage about their commitment to computer science teaching is what really resonated with all of us. As we support K12 educators returning to the classroom this fall, let’s remember what we need to do to support our teachers:
- Community: As we slowly return to a sense of normalcy that we’ve craved since the spring of 2020, it is important to recognize that our students and educators have anticipated this return in very distinct ways, impacting K12 classrooms forever. Regardless of the approach, we must all understand that the way educators teach, and the way students learn, have changed. Teachers have been forced to accommodate numerous instructional, technological, and administrative changes that the pandemic thrusted upon them, providing the opportunity for community support as they return to the classroom. As we head back to school this fall, it’s important to highlight that while all K12 educators are impacted by these shifts, there are unique challenges that educators in computer science and maker education face. The Foundation and CSTA stand by these educators and strive to provide a community of support as they prepare the next generation with computational thinking, coding and design thinking concepts. We invite the full community to go the extra mile with us to give our K12 educators the resources, professional development and connection they seek.
- Confidence: Not every teacher is born a computer science teacher. Rather, many educators volunteer or are ‘voluntold’ to teach these subjects, to ensure their students are not left behind. Their success and inspiration come from the confidence they gain from professional development experiences and access to other leaders, just like our CS Teaching Excellence Award winners. By having access to CSPD week hosted by CSTA, or to resources made available by the Foundation, we can encourage our K12 educators to embrace the belief that they can do this! Let’s continue to champion our educators who are willing to ‘lean into’ computer science and create small ‘spark’ moments in their lesson plans that introduce these innovative concepts to the youngest minds so they too build their confidence throughout their educational path.
- Capacity: In order to support excellence in computer science education, the Infosys Foundation USA works together with CSTA to create professional development opportunities. Beyond CSPD week, which was jointly delivered this year in AZ, the Foundation supports K12 educators year-round with an on-demand digital learning platform, the Pathfinders Online Institute. The platform offers 60+ professional development courses, ‘live’ and recorded webinars, and ‘grab-and-teach’ instructional resources, as well as free kits and licenses to enable inclusive and inspirational learning in the classroom. All educators are invited to create an account and start ‘upskilling’ in computer science and making. Additionally, CSTA is proud to offer the How We Teach Computing Summit on October 29th that aligns with the Hello World! The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy that focuses on approaches to teaching computing in the classroom and was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for the National Centre for Computing Education. Registrations will be open soon.
So, as we kick off the school year, let’s again offer our congratulations to the 10 2022 CS Teaching Excellence Award winners: Nicholas M. Bousquet, Yolanda Kol, Adam Lueken, Melanie Haley Olson. Khamphet Pease, Samuel K. Puich, Agustin Sarmiento, Devon Senneseth, Timothy Clifford Swick, Catherine Tabor and the 5 honorable mentions, Tonya Coats, Taghrid Elmeligui, Annie Kelly, Mark Nechanicky, and Adam S. Riazi.
Thank you for your determination and resilience in expanding computer science education to those who need it most! Further information about these individuals can be found here.
About Infosys Foundation USA
Infosys Foundation USA was established in 2015 with the mission of expanding computer science and maker education to K-12 students and teachers across the United States, with a specific focus on increasing access to underrepresented communities. The Foundation achieves impact through delivering professional development programs for teachers, partnering with leading nonprofits, and delivering innovative media campaigns that inspire everyone to be creators, not just consumers, of technology. For more information, visit infosys.org/USA.
CSTA’s mission is to empower, engage and advocate for K-12 computer science teachers worldwide. CSTA is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. For more information, visit csteachers.org.