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Open letter: Cuyahoga teacher sees students grow through computer science

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Roberta Bandfield is a Media & Technology teacher at Corpus Christi Academy in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Roberta wrote to us about her experience with Computer Science Discoveries, one of the computer science opportunities open now.

IRoberta Bandfield headshotn search of a meaningful professional development opportunity I came across the Ohio STEM Learning Network and the opportunity to participate in the Battelle/Code.org program.  I had been using Code.org CS Fundamentals for a few years and felt comfortable with the program.

At that time my role was technology teacher so I had unlimited choices. I was not aware at the time that the CS Discoveries class was meant for middle school students. I saw the professional development experience and it looked like fun so I signed up. That was the summer of 2019.

Join Ohio’s 2022-2023 computer science cohorts

OSLN K-5 Discoveries (Middle school) Principles (High School) CS A (High school)
K-5 application Apply on Code.org

I was so excited for the 2019 – 2020 school year. During the summer I had the awesome experience of learning about CS Discoveries. I met many teachers who were just like me – interested but not very experienced. Everyday we walked into the school and like students began to learn. By Wednesday we were teaching concepts to our cohort. I never thought that this experience would transform my teaching so much.

Audio: Hear Roberta describe how the skills of students change with elementary computer science education

 

In the fall of 2019 I began to implement the lessons. Because I have a unique schedule seeing students twice a week for 35 minutes I was not able to complete units like other teachers. The program is flexible enough to accommodate my unique situation. Students in my school already know each other and most have been with each other for many years. So I break up the curriculum so we cover everything in 3 years. Every student in my school takes CS from preschool through 8th grade.

The 6th graders struggle with learning HTML but by the time they are in 8th grade they feel so confident about attempting new and different things. With the pandemic hitting in the spring of 2020 there were some units I was unable to teach until this year. This is when my cohort really helped. I was able to look through materials we had covered, understanding the website I was able to borrow from other teachers and reflect on my teaching practices.

I could not believe it when I had a former student come back and tell me that they were in AP Computer Science and were ahead of their classmates! While not every student is a great success story I do see the way they think changing, they challenge themselves to try new things. They work extra hard to get the code just right for a game. They push themselves to do better.

Audio: Two student stories

 

I have taken part in many professional development workshops. Been given lots of teaching materials, tried many different things. But, this is the one opportunity that I can say I am still using, the one professional development I would do again. The one PD that changed and challenged the way I teach. I am a happier teacher, less stressed teacher and more productive teacher and I can thank Code.org and Battelle for helping me make that change.

Join Ohio’s 2022-2023 computer science cohorts

OSLN K-5 Discoveries (Middle school) Principles (High School) CS A (High school)
K-5 application Apply on Code.org

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