Elizabeth Bell (Betsey)
Montgomery County Public Schools
Foundations Office Department of Career and Technical Education
- How did you first get interested in computer science?
I was a Career Technology teacher (IT) in a school with wall-to-wall academies. I was asked to lead the IT academy which included recruiting and advising students in the computer science pathway as well as planning academy events. I continued to work with IT and the computer science programs when I moved to the Foundations/Career Technology office in 2015 where I have enjoyed helping create pathways for students in computer science and providing enriching professional development opportunities for teachers.
- Why do you think that students in your district should have the opportunity to learn CS?
Besides the academy schools, computer science in MCPS was only available as an elective in the schools that had a teacher and could fill the classes. As both a needed skill and career opportunity, computer science should be available to all students as part of modern curriculum options. Creating opportunities to train more teachers and broadening access for students in more schools is a fulfilling and rewarding endeavor.
- What have Montgomery County teachers done with CS ?
MCPS IT and computer science teachers embrace change in their curriculum and spend countless hours revising and perfecting their lessons. They are pioneering champions in incorporating cybersecurity, AI, Python and other changes and adaptations to the curriculum in to prepare their students for the world of tomorrow. I have the privilege to lead and support the changes, but the teachers are the champions.
- What are some of your strengths as a district and as a district team to plan for CS implementation?
MCPS has a long, strong history of quality programs and curriculum offerings in computer science. We look to expand the offerings and allow for more student access to these changing programs and to reach younger students with computer science curriculum and career opportunities.