CS Ed Week is Here!

On the first day of CSEd Week, my students gave to me… a random sorted binary tree. 
Only 3 More Days to CSEd Week (Dec 4 – 10)! If you already have your CSEd Week planned, you are awesome!  If you don’t, we have some great ideas for each day of CSEd Week and more:
For even more opportunities, including some that must wait until next year, visit the (👥) PSCSTA CSEd Week Community Post.
CSEd Week was started in 2009 by ACM to raise awareness about the need to elevate computer science education at all levels and to underscore the critical role of computing in all careers.  

December Issue 2023


Welcome Washington CS Ed Community!

Happy CSEd Week and Happy Holidays!

Welcome to the December 2023 edition of the CSTA Puget Sound (aka "PSCSTA") newsletter.

We have exciting news, events, opportunities and more to share unique from our November newsletter. Make sure to read and share! 
We hope you find our reimagined monthly newsletter useful and entertaining. Do you notice anything new? Please send any questions, comments, or ideas for future newsletters to
Please forward this newsletter to others you know in the CS education community.  This content and most links will also be publicly available on our website.   A few links designated by (👥) require a chapter membership to access our community content.   Not a member?   It's free.  Just visit our website.  

Where do snowmen get their weather report?

The Winternet!

Just before midnight on Dec 31, be sure to lift your left leg.

Start the new year on the right foot!

Member Spotlight: Michelle Laskowski
Michelle Laskowski is the only CTE STEM teacher at Fife High School (Fife SD, pop: 900), a 10-12, Title 1 high school. She is also a graduate of the 2023 STEP CS program at UW
Current courses:
  • AP Computer Science Principles (~32 students) (Full year)
  • Introduction to Video Game Development (~25 students) (1 Semester)
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity (~35 students) (1 Semester)
  • Robotics I and Robotics II (40 and 15 students) (1 Semester)
  • Financial Algebra (~30 students) (Full year)
  • Criminal Law (~30 students) (1 Semester)

CS-related extra-curricular activities:
  • Founder and Coach of FHS’s FTC Robotics team
  • Cyberstart America 

CSEd moments of pride
  • Diversity and inclusion from all racial, socioeconomic and gender identities in my STEM course participation. 
  • Students taking the initiative to design and print parts for their robots
  • Students aspiring to pursue higher education in STEM after taking one of my courses

Biggest challenge:
  • As a small school, Fife HS has limited courses we can offer to our students for further content specialization.
I am grateful for PSCSTA and the PD and community they provide. After attending an in- person training in early 2023 for “Physical Computing”, I was inspired to incorporate LED light and coding projects into small extracurricular group activities in order to engage more students in CS.

The STEP CS program gave me the tools and confidence to take my courses content to the next level by learning how to host classroom discussions on the why’s in addition to the hows. The program also provided the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other CS teachers from the Puget Sound region which is crucial for our growing content field!
  • BS in Math, M.Ed from LSU
  • 3.5 years teaching math and computer science in Louisiana
  • Initially hired as Conditional CTE after starting with Fife HS in 2020.   Now looking forward to National Board certification in CTE after completing program with Bates Technical College

Data Corner: % of HS Offering CS 
On Nov 1,, CSTA, and the ECEP Alliance released the 2023 State of Computer Science Education Report.

The key metric the report uses to measure the progress of computer science education within a state is the percentage of high schools in the state that offer a foundational computer science course.  In the 2022-23 school year, 48% of Washington high schools offered computer science compared to 57.5% nationally.  
Since 2019-2020, the percentage of Washington high schools offering computer science has decreased from 49% to 48% despite SB 5088 (2019) which was designed to greatly increase this percentage by 2022-23.    In comparison, the national percentage has increased from 47% in 2019-2020 to 57.5% in 2022-23.
Create Your Own CS Educator Meetup
Hungry for more informal, in-person get-togethers with fellow PSCSTA members?
Please consider organizing your own meetup, particularly if you live outside central Puget Sound or would like to discuss a particular topic (e.g., K-5 CS education).   PSCSTA will reimburse $12 per member attending (min 3 max 10) for “pizza money” for these meetups.
Please contact with details at least one week before the event to receive funding for these meetups.  Please allow more time if you want help promoting or recruiting for the event.
Catherine Wyman and Jennifer Styer have organized our first regional meetup – for northwest Washington on Jan 16, 2024  from 4:30 - 6:00 PM at Skagit Valley College.   Please use the event page to register and find out more about this meetup.
Partner Spotlight: Paul G. Allen School
The Paul Allen G. School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington - Seattle - supports the Computer Science Community through a variety of programs. These programs include, but are not limited to, K-12 Programs and UW in the High School (UWHS). In the past year alone, the  Allen School supported more than 1100 K-12 students through engagement with local high schools, community-based organizations, and on-campus programs.
There are several community-based K-12 programs, associations, and events that the Allen School partakes in. Some of these include:
The Allen School also participates with UW in the High School (UWHS) which gives High School students an opportunity to earn FREE College Credit while partaking in High School Classes (Dual Credit). Students enrolled in these dual credit classes are able to stay in their High School and be taught by their High School teachers while accruing accredited college credit. So far 15 UWHS school partners are offering UW introductory programming classes!
If you want to learn more about what Allen School has to offer make sure to check out the Allen School Website and all their social media links below. If you would like to contact the Allen School K-12 outreach team please email them at
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Know a future CS teacher?

If you know someone interested in teaching CS in Washington, please have them contact
Becoming a CS teacher in Washington is NOT a straightforward process. Know your options.
PSCSTA provides a CS Endorsement Exam Prep Course for Washington, but it's not for everyone.  We'll try to give you the most appropriate (👥) advice based on your situation. 

How do you recruit CS students?

Recruiting students for CS classes is a challenge.  If recruiting for a CS class, you're recruiting against every other subject and students' tight academic schedule.  You could appeal to the future benefits of the challenge of studying CS now, but many teenagers don't make the best decisions for their future.

Let us know how you recruit students for your CS class by filling out the one-minute poll and/or visiting our (👥) community post on recruiting.  Results will be shared in a future issue.

CSTA provides an online self-paced course Using Data to Improve Diverse Participation in CS (6 WA state clock hours available) for those interested in further investigating this topic. 

And there's more...

PSCSTA has several events planned for early next year with details TBD.  These include:
  • Physical Computing Workshop 2024
  • BOF for northwest CSTA chapters at SIGCSE
  • "How CSTA can help you" presentation at NCCE '24
Stay tuned. 
Upcoming Events
PSCSTA Donate via Credit Card "Event"
Sep 01, 2023 - Aug 31, 2024
CS Endorsement Exam Prep Course for Washington State - Jan 2024 Cohort
Sep 30, 2023 - Jun 30, 2024
CSTA Northwest Washington Membership Meetup
Skagit Valley College, Multipurpose Room, Cardinal Center
Jan 16, 2024
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM UTC-08:00
View entire list

Q: Why can’t cats work on the computer?
A: They get too distracted chasing the mouse around.

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