Open letter: Putnam county educator shares impact of computer science

Cody Vennekotter wrote to us about his experience with Computer Science Principles, one of the computer science opportunities open now.


My name is Cody Vennekotter, a High School Math and Computer teacher at Ottawa-Glandorf High School. I have been teaching Computer Science Principles through since the 2016/2017 school year, and have enjoyed my time teaching the course.

Going into teaching CSP, I had limited experience with programming and Computer Science. I had only  taken one class in undergraduate school at Bowling Green State University five years prior to my training, so when I was contacted by my principal to add the class and go to the training I was nervous.  However, I also enjoy learning new things, I know Computer Science is continuing to grow, and I knew it would be a great addition to our curriculum. With these truths in mind, I went to the professional development held in Chicago in August 2016.

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These programs are all eligible for the OSLN Travel Grant Program for educators traveling more than 75 minutes to reach the event.

OSLN K-5 Discoveries (Middle school) Principles (High School) CS A (High school)
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The CSP training was a huge help in implementing the curriculum in our school. It taught me how to effectively teach the content and gave me a cohort of teachers to contact if I have any questions or need any help with the content. I have become confident in teaching the course. After the initial training held in Chicago, Battelle held additional training sessions for first year instructors throughout the year in Columbus. This additional training was so beneficial as I could ask questions and talk to other teachers who were also teaching the curriculum for the first time.

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Teaching Computer Science Principles has been one of my favorite classes to teach. I have had the privilege to teach students of all backgrounds in Computer Science and Programming from  students who have no knowledge of computers to  students who have much experience with computers and programming. Both sets of students have their own set of challenges and rewards. To be able to see a student grow and learn Computer Science is amazing. To see that It’s so rewarding to see how a student can go from not knowing how to program to being able to create their own program and app.  I love seeing what students can make and design, and it’s gratifying to see just how good their work can be. The course is designed to challenge and engage all students, not just beginners and not just advanced programmingers, and every year I see growth in all my students.

One story that will always stick in my mind is a student of a senior girl who took my class just because it filled her schedule. She had no coding experience and did not think she had interest in coding. After the class concluded, though, she said that she enjoyed the class so much that she was considering majoring in computer science in college. About two or three years later I ran into the student again. She was majoring in computer science, was a year away from graduating, and already had amazing job offers. It was so rewarding to see how much she had grown in my class and in college and to realize my class had put her on the path to a rewarding career with the ability to land any job she wanted.

Teaching computer science has given me many stories just like this. It is a great class to teach and can open many doors to students that didn’t even know the door was there.

Please feel free to contact me.

Cody Vennekotter

[email protected]

419-523-5702 x 201

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