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Cleveland teacher Claudene McCoy on computer science, finding confidence

It’s a busy time for computer science in Ohio.

The first ever Computer Science Advocacy day at the Ohio Statehouse will be held on December 10, 2019. Learn more about the event here. For computer science workshops for administrators and elementary educators, head over to the events calendar.

But the main subject of today’s post is Code.org’s Professional Learning Program. This intensive, year-long learning experience prepares middle and high school educators to teach Code.org’s Computer Science Discoveries (middle school) or Principles (high school) courses. Battelle is the Code.org Professional Learning Partner for the state of Ohio.

Applications for next year’s cohort will open soon. Nominate Ohio educators for the experience at www.osln.org/code.

Claudene McCoy is a 25-year veteran teacher in the Cleveland Heights/University Heights schools. This summer, she joined the Code.org Ohio TeacherCON cohort to prepare to teach AP Computer Science Principles. Read about her experience below:

Q: Have you taught any computer science before?

A: Yes and no. Not really computer science, per se, but I have taught some computer courses. I was a technology teacher for 13 years at a middle school.

I’ve been hearing it throughout and it’s true. I think this course is more about what I’m already doing than I knew.

Q: Why is this class important for your students?

A: This is about bridging the achievement gap. This is about bridging the equity gap – getting more students involved in computer science.

It’s important for every student to have an opportunity to come into computer science and learn not just what to do, but the how behind it. That could take them to photography or other things in technology. It’s about getting more students involved in it and showing them –  you can do this!

I think, more students will be interested in it if they see – hey, it’s not as hard as I thought! It’s not just for this type of student, but it’s for everyone. That’s why I think it’s important.

Q: Why did join the Code.org cohort? What were you hoping to get out of it?

A: I’m getting everything I was hoping. I was hoping to get a better understanding of exactly what I’m going to be teaching.

I really needed to learn. I really wanted to jump into the curriculum. So, I came, and that’s what this has been. This has been amazing.

The AP piece was a big thing for me. I’ve never taught AP before, and now here’s a computer science course that’s AP. Now I can answer questions for parents that may say, okay, since this is an AP course, does my child have to sit for the test? I found, no, it’s optional. 

Q: What could you say to convince a teacher to apply to the next cohort?

A: For any teacher that’s on the fence – like, “do I really need to come to the workshop?” Yes, you really need to come to the workshop.

Definitely, if you’re on the fence about coming, come. It’ll give you the overview, it’ll give you the insight, and it’ll show you where to go. And it gives you a network of people that you can contact, stay in touch with, run things by, shoot things over with.

It’ll show you that it’s not just programming. I think a lot of teachers probably came in so ready to program, and I’m thinking, slow your roll! There’s more than just programming to this. It gives you resources, a community, a network, however you want to frame it. Plus, it gives you that confidence that – yeah, I can do this. I can do this.

I feel way more confident now that I’ve come. I feel like when I go back to Cleveland Heights, I will be ready.

 

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