STEFANIE ISMAIL: There's no question that every student needs to know computer science, especially in this day and age. My first year in teaching computer science to middle schoolers, my confidence level was pretty low. If I was struggling with it, I couldn't imagine how the kids might struggle with it.
SARAH GOODMAN: It's really important to have teachers coached in computers and in computer science, because they don't get that kind of experience in their teacher preparation programs. They don't have access to somebody who is an expert in technology.
DIANE LEVITT: You can't really say that you're getting a child ready for the future without getting them to understand computer science. The students of New York City Public Schools are traditionally students who have been left out of the computer science classroom, largely students of color, largely students from poverty. Our work is a stake in the ground that says, where you were born should not have anything to do with your understanding of the world you live in.
STEFANIE ISMAIL: So once the initiative came to the school, my intimidation of computer science changed drastically, because I was able to get the help of the resident teacher Meg.
MEG RAY: There is a lot of computer science curricula coming out. But does it work in the classroom? Do teachers know how to use it? Is it culturally responsive? Is it inclusive of students with disabilities? We are taking what's out there and working with teachers to make sure that it does meet all those needs.
STEFANIE ISMAIL: Meg went through every lesson with us. Half of the lesson was spent teaching us the content. The other half of the lesson was spent teaching us how to teach the content. She was able to help me anticipate areas that students would struggle with and how to go around these struggles, things that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own.
Working with the teacher resident changed my teaching practice. And then I was more open to trying something new.
THEA CHARLES: What I'm excited about with the work at Cornell Tech and their K to 12 initiative, that there's so much engagement across the board. The teachers are all on board with what's happening. If you go to a classroom, the students are really excited about what's happening. The teachers in residence are so dedicated to the work. And the work fits a model that other people can take and adapt to different areas.
STEFANIE ISMAIL: Having a coach like Meg was able to get me to encourage this level of excitement in my students. And what I felt was even more exciting was this hunger in them.
DIANE LEVITT: This is an opportunity for us to use technology and computer science education to close the equity gap, to open doors of opportunity.
STEFANIE ISMAIL: I am feeling very confident. Next year I plan on doing this again. And I'm really excited about it.
SARAH GOODMAN: When you see an institution like Cornell Tech committed to all the students of New York City and every student in our class, it gives us a lot of optimism. They feel like the future of New York and the future of the world is something that they are a part of.
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Through our K-12 Initiative's “Teachers in Residence” program, we provide content coaching and professional development to educators in New York City public schools. Together with our partners, we are building the capacity of non-CS teachers to integrate computing in their classrooms.