Professional Development – A Sustainable Approach
The Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech (Constellations) mission is to democratize computing — that is, to ensure there is access to computing education in schools, especially in underserved communities. The major task is developing teacher capacity. Only 1% of high school students in Georgia take any Advanced Placement computer science exam. Atlanta is the largest city in Georgia and the second most segregated city in the nation. School systems like Atlanta Public Schools (APS) are challenged with finding teachers with the knowledge and experience to teach computer science. The majority of the 52K students enrolled in APS are students of color (72% Black, 8% Hispanic, 16% White).
The Constellations Computing Equity Project is comprehensive and research-based. It includes on-going workshops, classroom-based coaching, and virtual support. The professional development (PD) is content-focused, emphasizing collaboration to build community with teachers, integrating active learning in the classroom, offering opportunities for feedback and reflection, and is sustainable over multiple years.
The Constellations PD consists of:
- 5 days in the summer focused on content, curriculum, research and best practices, and planning
- 4 one-day workshops (2 in the fall; 2 in the spring)
- Classroom-based coaching once a week
- Webinars for additional content development
- Access to instructional videos
- Participation in an online teacher community
Constellations recognizes this implementation is a learning process. We continually adapt and integrate lessons learned. As next steps to improve on the PD model we aim to utilize video to anchor conversations about PD activities that lead to increased efficacy. These videos will feature coaching and planning, classroom implementation, and reflection on observations and students outcomes.
NSF Awards: 1837640