Archive for January 28, 2014

New CSTA Administrator Impact Award

CSTA 2014 Administrator Impact Award
The Computer Science Teachers’ Association, in partnership with, has established an award to recognize an administrator who has made an outstanding contribution in K-12 computer science. The purpose of this award is to identify and promote administrators who have made a significant impact to improve access to and the quality of computer science education.
Any public or private school administrator who is a CSTA member in good standing may be nominated for the CSTA Administrator Impact Award. Both the nominated administrator and the nominee must be able to attend (at CSTA’s expense) the 2014 CSTA Annual Conference scheduled for July 14th and 15th in St. Charles, Illinois. The winner and the person who submitted the nomination will be encouraged, although not required, to present at a dedicated session at the conference.
The Award
The Computer Science Teachers Association will award the winner and the nominating educator an all expense paid trip to the 2014 CSTA Annual Conference to be held in St. Charles, Illinois. The winner will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the conference and will be featured in an article in the CSTA Voice.
Application Deadline
The application must be submitted online no later than March 3, 2014.  See below for the Application Process.
Notification of Winners
The winning nominator and awardee will be contacted by April 11, 2014. The winner will be posted on the CSTA website by April 18, 2014.  The winner will be announced to all CSTA members via email by May 1, 2014. 
Application Process
To complete the online application, go to:
You will need to enter the following information:
* Nominator Information (name, school name, school city and state, email address, phone number)
* Nominee Information (name, title, school district, email, phone number)
* Description of how the person nominated has influenced or improved K-12 computer science education
* Description of the scope and impact this person has had on the school, district, state, or national level
* Description of the special qualities the person nominated demonstrates as an educator and leader.
Evaluation Criteria:
Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of how the administrator influenced or improved  K-12 computer science education. The scope and the impact of the nominee’s contribution may extend to school, district, state and/or national levels. The nominee should possess outstanding educator and leadership qualities as documented by the nominator.  Significant impact of the contribution should be broad enough to be replicated by other school districts and must be sustainable over time. Leadership qualities may be demonstrated through a variety ways including innovative approaches to local or national computer science challenges, mentoring of teachers, and visionary thinking.
Recommendations for Preparing the Application
* The online application must be completed in its entirety in one sitting.  It cannot be saved and/or continued at a later time
* Keep the narratives simple, unformatted, and concise
* Descriptions may be completed in a word processor then copied and pasted on the application; however, formatting may not be copied.
To complete an online application for the CSTA Administrator Award, please go to:

Contact Chris Stephenson at


January 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm 1 comment

Participation in AP CS in high school is a matter of individual, exceptional teachers

All the press coverage of Barbara Ericson’s AP CS 2013 exam results analysis has led to a lot of discussion among my Facebook friends.  The results are even more telling than the raw numbers.

  • Rebecca Dovi and Ria Galanos, both exceptional AP CS high school teachers and both in Virgina, started comparing notes on the Hispanic students who took the AP CS exam from that state.  They could name half of them.  Looks like those two teachers were responsible for half of the Hispanic exam takers from Virginia.
  • Why is that Tennessee has ranked so well for female AP CS exam takers among all the states?  It is due to one exceptional AP CS teacher, Jill Pala, who teaches at an all-girls school.  Barb verified this claim.  Jill’s class generated 30 of the 71 female exam-takers in Tennessee. Without Jill, Tennessee would be in the middle of the pack. With Jill, they have the highest percentage of female AP CS exam-takers among all the states.

On the one hand, what a wonderful statement about the impact that a single exceptional teacher can make!  Hey, states that want to raise their exam taker numbers — go hire yourselves a Rebecca, Ria, or Jill!  Or provide the professional development to grow your own!

On the other hand — our numbers are SO small that a single teacher can make the difference for a whole state.  There were 2103 schools that passed the AP CS audit in 2012.  That’s probably exactly the number of AP CS teachers, too.  There were 11,694 schools that passed the audit for AP Calculus!  Great teachers matter in Calculus, too.  But there are so many teachers, an individual teacher probably can’t make or break a whole state’s ranking.  Wouldn’t it be nice for AP CS to be in that position?

January 28, 2014 at 1:09 am 4 comments

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