Thanks for posting this, Nate and Brook! The idea of the letter is super helpful and you’ve got some excelling points in there. I took the main elements and rewrote the letter to take on an extra safe tone since I was concerned the original might be interpreted by my counselors as saying “let me tell you how to do your job” or “make sure I get just the top students”. Of course, these are not things the original version is saying, but I wanted to err on the side of caution.
Unfortunately, my version turned out more like an essay…
You’re probably busy scheduling students these days and I’m not sure what information you have about the new AP Computer Science Principles course, so I wanted to chime in with some info that hopefully you find helpful for talking to students about the class and scheduling them!
One of the main goals of the AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) course is to broaden the appeal of computer science to as many students possible. The course is full of activities designed to be engaging and accessible to all students, and the content requires NO FORMAL PREREQUISITES OR SKILLS. For example, students don’t need to be acing calc to be a good fit for the class. Please be especially mindful to reach out to students who typically might not even think of themselves as someone who would take a computer science class, and historically this has been females and minorities.
Please also keep in mind this is still an AP course (this year is a pilot year). The students will be learning and applying skills (programming, reflective and persuasive writing, performing structured group activities) that require dedicated time and focus to be successful. For example, students who have not shown the discipline to pass Algebra 1 would likely do poorly in this course.
It would be fantastic if you could keep these two factors in mind for the students when you’re scheduling them or discussing their schedule with them (DIVERSITY + Good WORK HABITS).
Please let me know if you have questions, or feel free to direct students my way (room ___ ) if they have questions about the new Computer Science Principles course.
TL; DR: Regarding the new AP Computer Science Principles course, please encourage as DIVERSE a student population as possible, as long as they have good WORK HABITS.
Feedback and revisions encouraged!