Prince Georges County Public Schools
Department of Career and Technical Education
What events in your life led you to pursue computer science?
Growing up, I wanted to go into the medical field to be a pediatrician and work with children. All of that changed when one day, my computer stopped working and I took it apart in an attempt to fix it. I became fascinated by this machine. Working with computers came easily to me, and that is when I discovered that I wanted to work with computers. I was always the go-to person when someone needed to have something fixed or needed advice with technology. I never saw it as a job, but genuinely enjoyed it. I took my first computer science programming course in high school. I was the only female student in the course.
I earned a master’s of science degree in computer science education from Nova Southeastern University located in Davie, FL. I completed a graduate teacher education program (GTEP). There were a total of five students in the program. I was the only one who completed the program in its entirety.
After completing an internship at a high school where I taught computer programming and business education courses, I realized that I really enjoyed teaching students in a K-12 setting. After earning my graduate degree, I started teaching middle school students. I taught computer applications and web design. It was a wonderful experience. Working with students was very satisfying and I enjoyed seeing their faces light up when their program was executed and it worked.
What have you done with computer science education since you have come to Maryland?
I taught CISCO courses at Suitland High School in Prince George's County (CISCO is a computer networking program of study). I was then recruited to Fairmount Heights High School to work as the Program Coordinator for their IT Academy. I also taught Android App Development, Computer Networking, Systems Engineering, and AP Computer Science A courses. I then became the supervisor of the entire program. The program was in two other high schools. I now serve as an Instructional Supervisor in the Department of Career and Technical Education. I supervise the Information Technology, Computer Science K-12, Transportation Technologies, Business Management and Finance, Business Education, and Career Research Development Programs.
I currently oversee a network of teachers who are teaching courses in or related to computer science in my school district. I have organized training workshops for teachers and school leaders in computer science education. I have collaborated with Industry Partners such as Amazon to provide funding to our school district for computer science education. We have partnered with the Amazon Future Engineers Program to provide computer science curriculum and resources to our elementary and high school students. We are offering more computer science courses in high school. We piloted a Pre-K to 5 CS integration program at one of our elementary schools (SY19-20). We have started a pilot where the scratch programming language is integrated into elementary math and science courses. We offer a computer science related course in every middle school. We trained over 100 middle and high school teachers thus far. We implemented the Oracle Academy into three high schools last school year. Our high school java programming course offerings went from one to four. Every 9th-grade student has an opportunity to take an introduction to computer science course. We are continuing to train teachers and offer more opportunities for our students to learn skills in computer science.
Prince George's County Public Schools has a very active team working for Computer science education. What factors distinguish your team that has made it successful?
- 2018 was our first year having a person with a background in computer science education and Information Technology supervise the programs in the CTE office.
- Our team is successful because we are able to work with each other and we understand the goals and what is needed to accomplish the goals. I enjoy seeing things happen and the steady progress we keep making.
- I am goal-oriented and understand the vision, and I am invested and passionate.
- Have great credentials of past work that prove the passion and investment in seeing the vision come to life.
- I see the need for a team that includes individuals from the industry, elementary, middle, and high school levels. It can’t just be run by one person and only their perspective. Bringing more people to the table is important. It’s crucial to have teachers' perspectives because it will impact them the most and they should be included in the decision making.
- My job is to make sure that our programs prepare students to either enter college or pursue a career upon graduating from high school.
Tell us about your District Computer Science Implementation Plan K-12
- How did you come up with a district plan?
- It is an ongoing group effort.
- I gathered insight from stakeholders, teachers, and other district and state leaders in computer science education.
- Computer Science collaborates with a number of different departments including Math, Science, STEM, CTE, and the Tech Ed Department.
- What were some of your plan Barriers?
- Getting others to understand why computer science is an important skill to have and why it should be taught, especially now.
- Getting enough teachers trained to teach courses that involve computer science education.
- Do you see room for where things could be improved?
- Yes, there is always room for improvement. Right now my focus is on implementing computer science into more grade levels and schools.
- It's important to have people who are invested to be part of the conversation to assist with making things happen.
Where do you see the most success from your efforts?
We have been slowly and thoughtfully expanding our plan to include both middle and high school computer science. We have been supporting teachers with computer science professional development for a number of years now. The results can be seen in the numbers. 100% of our high schools and middle schools offer computer science classes. With a focus on growing the middle school program, there are currently 385 sections of computer science being offered in our middle schools with over 10,000 students enrolled in a CS class this year **. We are continuing to expand our successful elementary and high school computer science programs to provide a stronger foundation and offer more follow-up opportunities for all students.
** Note: from local, unpublished data pulled October 2020.