“In Houston, when people hear the name ‘Shaina Glass’ some immediately see DISRUPTION.”
“In Houston, when people hear the name ‘Shaina Glass’ some immediately see DISRUPTION. In the words of the late, Congressman John Lewis – I believe it’s just ol’ fashioned ‘good trouble’. Why? Because when it comes to computer science, I don’t and can’t accept the current mindset on what computer science is. Because of this, I always come with questions and prepare solutions to the problems we are facing that most people are not ready to address.”
CSTA Equity Fellow, Shaina Glass, is the Program Director of Technology Applications & STEM, Teachers, at Aldine ISD in Houston, Texas. In her role, she trains and supports computer science and STEM teachers. Her definition of equity is shaped by her experiences.
“Defining equity in teaching comes directly from my lens as an African American, female, educator, and as a parent of a child of color,” Glass shared. “Being able to live and work in both of these environments has helped me define equity in teaching practices (my own as well as educators I support within my school district) as the following: Your zip code should not determine how much access students have to educational resources, sources, and in many cases, teachers.”
Glass’s goal in her work is simple: “dissipate the vision of many who believe all kids can’t do, create, or become whatever they want and develop and empower the educators that will help them achieve this. I believe that no child should attend school without learning computer science.”
Throughout her career, Glass worked with children of color, approximately 96% of her student population at Aldine ISD. She’s also been faced with her students being labeled academically behind before they’ve even started classes. This gets more complicated when you add in computer science. “Add in the new word, Computer Science, and the shields people wore to protect their biases come off and you realize why we face inequities, not just in education, but more specifically in individual classrooms.”
Through her work, Glass advocates for what most districts need – teachers to teach computer science. Without teachers, there is no program. Glass has created those relationships at the district level to help provide every student with the opportunity to learn computer science.
“I was asked to plant the computer science seed and help it bloom,'” Glass shared. “Initially, this created conflict and confusion; however, with the support of district-level administration, I have been given the direction to build a comprehensive, equitable program for our district. To truly make computer science a success for students, campus admin is on board and supportive of the need.”
Glass has developed external partnerships with organizations like Code.org, Amazon Future Engineer, BootUp, and Microsoft TEALS to provide her district’s teachers with PD to discuss their biases and instructional resources. Glass has also worked to develop diversity and inclusive guides for recruiting students to computer science.
As a result of her work to increase accessibility, Aldine ISD was awarded the NMSI (National Math & Science Initiative) grant which funds expanding AP CS Principles in HS for the next three years. This will help her district expand AP CS Principles and provide PD to campus leaders.
Inclusivity is important to the work Glass does at Aldine ISD. She provides support, PD, and opportunities for girls to showcase their work in over 20 Girls Who Code clubs. She also works to support ELL students.
“We provide accessibility tools along with pair programming which allows students to learn both English and various programming languages while communicating in their native language,” said Glass. “We also have teachers piloting curriculum from the Carnegie Mellon University CS Academy in Spanish for EL learners.”
Glass also works with her inclusion team and Microsoft to provide opportunities for our autistic and deaf ed students by taking them to the Microsoft store with accommodations (low light/sensory for autistic students and a translator for our deaf ed students).
To measure the success of her computer science programs, Glass uses various markers. The district creates student-led teachers during CSEdWeek to teach other students and collaborates with various departments to host district STEM events. She encourages her students to participate in the Congressional App Challenge. Data from AP CS Principles and the number of students choosing STEM endorsements with CS Pathways is another way the program measures success.
Glass’s department consists of just her, and she joined CSTA to find a professional learning network of support. “CSTA provides me with opportunities to build my knowledge of computer science surrounded by people like me,” Glass said. “I work better bouncing ideas off others and getting feedback to build a program that can work for ALL – not a selected few.” Since joining CSTA, Glass has since taken on a leadership role at CSTA as the current president of the CSTA Greater Houston Chapter.
She applied to become a CSTA Equity Fellow to expand her community and to address her ultimate goal: ” to provide a multitude of opportunities for ALL students and teachers alike to learn various facets of computer science wherever they are, with no restrictions, restraints, or limitations, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities.”
With her fellow members of this cohort, Glass is working on a podcast entitled One Voice in CS which will highlight different voices of computer science educators across the country. She is also working with the cohort on developing a book for computer science educators addressing the impact of developing a computer science K-12 Program in school districts. She’s excited to share during the upcoming CSTA Equity in Action Summit as well.
You can learn more about Glass, this year’s cohort, and the CSTA Equity Fellowship program here.