Introducing AP CS Principles

I am currently going through the process of introducing the course to the district and having it be approved for the 2020-2021 school year. I would like to know how the process went for others and what issues came up when trying to implement the course into your school. More specifically…

  1. Did you survey current students/parents/community to gauge interest?

  2. What questions did you come across that needed to be answered?

  3. What were the issues that came up when dealing with AP regarding the principles course?

  4. What were the main issues that came up at the school level?

  5. We are considering having the course be under the math “umbrella” and calling it a math elective so students can get a credit for the course. Have others done this and has it worked well?

Thank you for any and all help, please email me directly or respond here with answers.

Ideally I would like to have a conversation or 2 with someone who has gone through this process and get some information regarding the nuts and bolts of it.

First, congrats @jonheeren ! That is very exciting! Here is my take:

  1. I did not survey anyone. We had no CS courses in our building until I taught it.
  2. What kind of credit is it? I was able to offer it as a “math elective” in my district because our state laws let me as a math teacher offer CS as a math elective. I had to show them how it aligns to math standards.
  3. No issues with the AP. If you already offer AP courses at your building, it shouldn’t be a big deal. We have no district-wide (or school-wide) requirements for AP courses, so I let any student take the course (Algebra recommended but not required as a pre-rec)
  4. I think some teachers get concerned about “stealing” students. My principal (wisely) told me to ignore that. Students make choices.
  5. I’d say it works pretty well. If students take this a sole math course (not enrolled in another math course at the same time), they can lose some algebra skills, so I recommend that if students KNOW they want to go into CS, they should take a “traditional math” course too. Sometimes students just take AP CSP because they don’t want to do any more “traditional math”, which I am fine with. The thinking that is taught is really valuable. I think you can teach math while teaching thinking, but unfortunately, I think teaching processes over thinking is pretty common, especially in HS math.

Thank you very much Katie, just for reference where are you located just so I can compare. I’m in Minnesota so our standards might be different (we’re not on common core).

@jonheeren I am in MN too!