What kinds of things are you working on to extend the reach of your course offerings to a more varied student base? Have you tried something that has worked for you that might be of interest to other computer science educators?
I am going to attach a letter that I am working on, as I speak, in my effort to find a place where to teach the AP CSP course this coming school year (as an independent private school, for a fee, teacher)…
Your comments/suggestions would be much appreciated!
July 24, 2017
XXXY Learning Center
I am a private school K-12 teacher with a home base in nearby YYYX. My community outreach and focus as a highschool teacher this next school year is in teaching the hands-on AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course to typically under-represented students in the core subject of Computer Science. My course-specific training in AP CSP comes from Code.org where the idea of a student’s understanding of basic Computer Science principles is viewed as a key component to their ongoing success in our increasingly technological society.
While a student may not be motivated to take a Computer Science course in the presence of other competing options of higher personal interest, their participation and commitment to a course such as AP CSP will fill the void that “just using” the technology creates. Students, from the moment they start using children’s learning programs in primary and elementary education, to building on their communication capabilities through tools such as EMail, and even on to the use of spreadsheet analysis tools in their secondary-level education, are using ever evolving technology that shapes their community no matter what their background is and no matter what their future goals are.
You may not need to be convinced of the need for each student in our technological society to receive the benefit of a CS Principles course given what they already use every day. But if you are not convinced, I would like to encourage you to consider Code.org’s proposed engagement from K-12 via courses starting with CS Fundamentals (K-5), CS Fundamentals accelerated (6-12), CS Discoveries (7-9), and CS Principles (9-12): https://studio.code.org/courses.
So back to why I have sought the courtesy of your attention. I am in need of a hosting/venue location(s) for the AP CSP course to become a reality for students outside of the typical public school venue (e.g. those that are homeschooled or in a Private School Satellite Program). Do you think your business might be able to host a full-school-year course providing 5 hours per week of hands-on classtime engagement? My personal teaching-schedule constrains me to a weekly Tuesday and Thursday classday week within the timewindow of 11AM through 2PM. I believe this timewindow would also best serve the families that would be coming from various places in the greater YYYX area to attend.
If you have any opportunity to consider how I might be able to bring my teaching objectives in to your business venue, I would love to talk with you as soon as possible. The start of the new school year is closing in and my hopes are to settle this course into a local venue within several weeks. Note that I have flexibility to travel in the greater San Diego area which may help in scheduling at different locations for each of the two classdays per week. As a franchise business, this may open up exposure to your business if you have more than one location in the greater YYYX area.
I understand that your core business is in tutoring and supplemental engagement to improve student performance in course challenges and high-stakes testing. Please consider if addding an engaging course like AP CSP, with little to no homework required, to your offerings would draw more business to your location and make a new business relationship cost effective for both of us.
If there is any spark of interest in what I am proposing, please contact me at your earliest convenience. It would be a pleasure to talk with you and discuss this further. I would also appreciate the forward of this inquiry to another potential stakeholder that you may have contact with if you see a better fit elsewhere.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration; it is much appreciated!
Teacher XYZ local to YYYX
Here is another letter addressing the potential students. Any thoughts/suggestions?
July 24, 2017
Dear Prospective computer science principles student:
Is this your year for a fun high school elective course that can also give you Advanced Placement credit?
You may first ask how can a computer science course be fun, assuming you have no initial interest in programming like what is required in traditional computer science courses. The answer is simple: a new College Board approved course called Computer Science Principles has been created to give the complexities of technologies (the internet, digital information, computing algorithms, privacy, and yes, programming) a chance to be assimilated in a hands-on engaging format, a format that does not require learning from text books.
What’s key to the success of learning in this type of course is a focused in-class engagement that works to unfold big ideas, break down technical concepts, and develop skills in a structured progression.
You may next ask how a computer science course that (mostly) depends only on class-time engagement can be rigorous enough to satisfy as an introductory college-level course. AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) has been designed to cover material that colleges expect all entry-level students to have assimilated before taking on higher levels of college rigor; it covers the knowledge gap systematically seen in our youth being experts in the use of technology at their every turn, but being too overwhelmed with its bulk to not have an interest in knowing how any of it works. The Computer Science Principles course in an introductory course in computer science; it is for all students regardless of their background experience with computing.
Let me introduce the idea that AP Computer Science Principles is the course for you! Let me also introduce the concept that this computer science course has no computer science prerequisites, and little to no homework! And yet it has a college-level rigour that will pay off in the advancement of your personal engagement and appreciation for much of the computing technology you either already use every day, or will be using as you move forward in your education or career. This course will inspire you to be an active and informed contributor to our increasingly technological society whether you pursue a career in technology or not.
My outreach to you is to consider if this is the course for you this coming school year. I am bringing Computer Science Principles to a venue local to you in the greater XYZ area starting Thursday August 24th, 2017. Class times will be Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:30PM to 2PM every school week, unless there are scheduling and location changes needed. I have received training on this course through Code.org and will be using their College Board approved syllabus and curriculum (https://code.org/educate/csp). I will be teaching it through The YZX School which will be your high school connection with the College Board for this course.
Please reach out to me with your serious interest in this course for your 2017/2018 school year!