Delmar Wilson has been a public school educator for seventeen years. He currently teaches at Miami Springs Senior High, a public high school in Miami Springs, FL, where he has taught math, Cambridge Thinking Skills, and AP CS Principles. He is the chair of the Miami Springs Senior High math department, union steward, varsity basketball coach, and chair of the Educational Excellence School Advisory Council. In the past year, he also established his school’s first Computer Science Honors Society in partnership with another math teacher.
When Delmar started work on his doctorate degree in 2013, he quickly noticed the severe underrepresentation of people of color in the field of computer science. He began recruiting freshmen to enroll in an AP CS Principles course that he created at his school. Few of the students had ever dreamed of taking a computer science course, or even an AP course, but the class soon became a student favorite and has continued to grow over the years. Delmar is committed to introducing his students to the computer science discipline as a way of preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow.
In his career as a computer science teacher, Delmar has constantly sought out programs and opportunities to support student populations who have historically not been represented in the field. He was a member of the first cohort of teacher-leaders for the CSforEL program, where he learned more about the specific challenges faced by English language learners in computer science programs. The program designed student resources and lesson plans, and teacher participants tried out different learning strategies in the classroom to determine those that would be most effective in supporting English language learners.
Delmar understands the value of helping kids get a foot in the door of computer science, and he’s constantly working to provide those opportunities to his students. Last year, he piloted an afterschool CSforALL program to introduce Black and Hispanic students with disabilities to computer science. The students used an AI program to build their own chatbot to support social justice goals. He also launched a Computer Science Honors Society at his school where students participated in the CS First Code Your Hero activity to build a program featuring their favorite superhero. “As a result,” he says, “a lot of my female students have considered enrolling in my AP computer science class.”
Delmar notes, “Equity means providing teachers with the appropriate support based on their individual students’ needs, so that all students have to the opportunity to achieve similar levels of success.” Miami Springs Senior High maintains a partnership with Florida International University whereby teacher adjuncts teach programs like Python and C++ to students at Delmar’s school. It’s another way for Delmar to share the rich world of computer science with his students.
As a Black male teacher of computer science, Delmar knows the power of role models to show students from underrepresented groups that they, too, belong in CS. During his time as a CSTA Equity Fellow, he hopes to learn with his cohort to advance computer science in schools, neighborhoods, and communities that may not have previously realized there’s a place for them in the field of computing.
He would love to develop a professional learning community of CS teachers of color and find ways to advocate for recruiting more teachers from populations underrepresented in CS, so that students from those populations can have more computer science role models from similar backgrounds as theirs. In particular, he would love to organize a panel or workshop for Black CS teachers to talk through the barriers and challenges they face in the classroom and the strategies they use to maintain resilience in the profession.