“These are not normal times” is a phrase that I have constantly heard from many of you, our members of CSTA, and from my friends, peers and colleagues for the past several months. So many different events have and continue to occur that impact our students, teachers, communities, and societies at large: the pandemic, social justice issues and unrest, the political climate, and remote/distance learning and teaching just to name a few.
“These are not normal times” is a phrase that I have constantly heard from many of you, our members of CSTA, and from my friends, peers, and colleagues for the past several months. So many different events have and continue to occur that impact our students, teachers, communities, and societies at large: the pandemic, social justice issues, and unrest, the political climate, and remote/distance learning and teaching just to name a few.
Currently, many of us are challenged by these events and the resulting impacts causing stress and anxiety; yet, I also know that so many of you are striving to meet these challenges head-on, forging ahead and striving to do your best and provide the best educational opportunities for our children to learn.
I am proud to say that our organization, the Computer Science Teachers Association, has stepped up and provided leadership, commitment, and resources that are helping us, our students, communities, and our society meets these challenges. At the onset of the pandemic in March where our public education system shut down and migrated to remote/distance teaching and learning, CSTA provided resources to support our teaching.
Local chapters such as our CSTA-San Diego, CSTA-Greater Boston, and CSTA-Maine hosted virtual meetups or “Happy Hour Series”, giving local members opportunities to connect, network, and discuss topics such as teaching remotely, giving a space for members to share challenges, best practices, and probable solutions for distance learning and teaching.
I am also proud to say that CSTA is committed to equity, equity access, and social justice issue awareness. In this time of so many horrific social justice violent acts occurring, CSTA leadership came out and completely supported equity and inclusivity in our organization, condemning the acts of violence against equity and inclusion that have and continues to occur in our country and worldwide.
The establishment of our Equity Fellows program and our members that have been selected as Equity Fellows are an amazing and wonderful group of people, and have provided many resources that help us address equity and inclusivity issues in the computer science education space for both our students and teachers demonstrating the commitment to these issues by our CSTA Leadership and Board. This has also been demonstrated by the great article on The Advocate, written by board member, colleague, and friend, Michelle Friend, on Anti-Racist Teaching.
I want to also mention our incredible and wonderful 2020 CSTA Virtual conference, and am proud of the work of our CSTA team led by Executive Director Jake Baskin. Kudos to them for such an outstanding conference! I also met many of you and got to share the concerns of the 2021 school year, and considering the challenges and barriers of distance teaching and learning, and possible solutions for best practices for our teachers and students. Again, I am proud to say that CSTA is providing a CSTA Virtual Teaching Summit where the best strategies and practices for teaching remotely will be presented!
As a last thought, I think this is a time and moment when many of us can help our educational and district leaders, and local and statewide governing bodies to think of policy change and encourage the importance of CS education for our children, communities, and societies. The impact of COVID on our educational system has clearly demonstrated the need for computer science education as a mandatory component of our children’s education. I hope to encourage all of you to become involved with your local CSTA chapter and our national CSTA organization, to promote policy change and discussions with people and governing bodies. We can make a difference and provide CS for All, and help make our society and world a better place to live in.
9 – 12 Representative
(Proud CSTA+ Member)