CSTA Equity Fellow Ashley Ufret is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage. An NYC Teaching Fellow alumna, she is now completing her 6th year as an educator at P.S. 375 in Brooklyn, New York.
CSTA Equity Fellow Ashley Ufret is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage. An NYC Teaching Fellow alumna, she is now completing her 6th year as an educator at P.S. 375 in Brooklyn, New York. A childhood and bilingual elementary school teacher, she was introduced to computer science as a member of the Department of Education’s CS4ALL Sep Jr. program. Having personally fought to overcome physical and societal barriers to success, and bearing witness to the inequities faced by her students, she quickly embraced the invitation to participate in CS4ALL’s equity initiative, joining the Ingenuity and Exploring Equity in Computer Science (EECS) teams. Her goal is to bring CS and equity education to as many students as possible.
“Equity is giving all students a chance and a voice,” shared Ufret. “Having them feel like I am teaching for them, seeing themselves in the work and thriving from their growth. I want all learners to develop a love for learning and have a platform to demonstrate their understanding and impact change so I can support their growth.”
Ufret’s participation with the DOE CS4ALL Program as a teacher trainer/co-facilitator for the Sep Jr. Program, and as a member of the EECS, Computational Thinking and Ingenuity teams, provided her with experience in integrating computer science with content-area instruction for grades K-5 for DOE Educators in NYC.
“Starting my journey with integrating CS for ELLs in grades K-2 I found students’ language development to exceed expectations with an alternate engaging platform,” shared Ufret. “Incorporating technology in the classroom has allowed me to deliver real-time data-driven instruction and the ability to individualized differentiation to meet the needs of all students at their level.”
“In addition, by using accessibility features (such as translation, text to speech, speech to text) English Learners, students with disabilities, struggling readers, and advanced learners’ independent access to rigorous content and provided alternative methods for them to demonstrate their understanding,” she continued. “Over the years I have been integrating CS practices and perspectives with content area instruction, I have observed unprecedented gains in the classroom environment. Some examples include students’ increased engagement, attention to instruction, collaboration, taking the initiative, development of communication skills (including specificity and clarity when asking and answering questions), learning the value of perseverance and dynamic problem-solving skills.”
Ufret has invested in her continued growth as a CS educator, having completed over 450 hours of CS and Equity professional development. She joined CS4ALL’s SEP Jr. team as one of five teachers in her school and is now a teacher trainer. Ufret became an active member of the Equity Division of CS4ALL, serving as the elementary school consultant for the ingenuity team of the Equity in CS division of CS4ALL, assisting the team in developing lessons integrating Equity in CS for elementary grades K-5, now as a member of the Ingenuity team, she has not only continued this work but also facilitating sessions to support Educators in doing the same within their curriculum. She also joined the Exploring Equity in CS cohort and completed level 3 badging in translanguaging, racial equity, UDL, and identity/gender equity.
“I had the pleasure of working on developing lessons for elementary students in all areas of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education CR-SE through collaboration with PiLa-CS on Translanguaging, on Racial Literacy with Dr. Lloyd Talley, Gholdy Mohommad Cultivating Genius and Dr. Edmond Adjepong with a Deep dive in Cogenerative dialogues, Gender Inclusion Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation with Megan Bowen and Meg Ray, along with free community resources and support for Students facing discrimination or conflict at the Hetrick-Martin Institute HMI in addition to students’ rights in public schools and correcting misinformation enforcing compliance with Kimberly Shannon from the DOE along with Dr. Maya Israel on Universal Design for learning UDL.”
In her work towards level 4 badging, continuing her professional learning by collaborating with leaders in these areas of equity and taking an active role in advocacy to address the inequity in CS, Ufret works with a group of like-minded educators to support elementary schools with implementation by identifying barriers, creating resources and organizing a call-to-action for policymakers and stakeholders to make supporting Elementary schools’ implementation their top priority. “As a member of my schools’ PTA, I also advocate on behalf of my students by increasing awareness making sure parents are informed about CS and Equity integration to ensure that students are supported and have a voice,” shared Ufret.
“I am looking forward to continuing my work integrating CS to ensure that students are supported and have a voice. Having joined Latinx Digital Leaders Now (DLN), as a project manager and advisory board member, I am able to extend my work as an advocate for CS Equity and make an impact beyond my school community. At LatinxDLN, we are disrupting the tech status quo by advancing policies and initiatives for digital equity for the Latinx community. I am most excited about the CS4Latinx initiative, our effort to build a community of CS Entrepreneurs and Latinx educators to increase representation in the classroom and equip educators with CS skills. We believe Diversity, equity, representation, and inclusion in the classroom matter and are looking for educators to join us!” shared Ufret.
Ufret has presented at the Equity in CS Ready for Revolution Conference and the Multilingual CSed Curriculum Showcase for all DOE Teachers. Through her participation in CSTA’s Equity Fellowship, Ufret will continue to grow in her knowledge and impact.
Learn more about the CSTA Equity Fellowship and its cohorts here.