Struggling teacher in front of a growing pile of books

Updating Washington CS Education Standards

SB 5849 (2023-24) Relating to a computer science competency graduation requirement instructs OSPI to review and update the state’s K-12 computer science learning standards. It also requires OSPI to “identify the standards considered to be foundational for graduation purposes.”
The standards require technical depth and subject breadth beyond what is typically taught in our public schools, even in well-resourced school districts. A typical semester-long high school Intro to Programming course may only cover standards for Algorithms and Programming in Grades 6–8 and maybe some in Grades 9-10. By the end of second grade, students should be able to “Develop programs with sequences and simple loops, to express ideas or address a problem." Many computer science courses focus on the Algorithms and Programming conceptual area while the standards in other CS conceptual areas are hopefully met by courses in different subjects (e.g., Math, Digital Literacy).
The Washington CS standards are the same as the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017) with some differences in formatting and presentation. The alignment between Washington CS standards and CSTA standards helps educators evaluate curriculum. The CSforAll Curriculum Directory shows how various national curricula are aligned to CSTA standards for comparison. In December, CSTA announced plans to update the 2017 K-12 Computer Science Standards by the summer of 2026.
CSTA also provides Standards for CS Teachers (2020) with standards in five areas: CS Knowledge and Skills, Equity and Inclusion, Professional Growth and Identity, Instructional Design, and Classroom Practice. NBPTS does not specify standards for computer science teachers as it has for teachers of other subjects.
What are your thoughts on Washington’s CS standards? How should they be updated? Which standards should be considered foundational to determine whether students graduate? Join the discussion on the PSCSTA community thread (👥) Updating Washington’s CS Standards.   

March 2024 Issue

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Welcome Washington CS Ed Community!
We hope that the leprechauns and four-leaf clovers will bring you some type of luck this month. If not at least you have the luck of stumbling across the CSTA Puget Sound (aka "PSCSTA") newsletter each month! Without further ado welcome to the March 2024 edition of our monthly connector.
We've got some exciting events coming up that you'll want to mark on your calendars as well as other informational articles. If you have any comments about the current edition or ideas for future editions, please email :)
Please also 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 the PSCSTA website and press the "Join CSTA Puget Sound" button.
diverse group of computer science teachers celebrating St. Patrick's Day animated. Image 1 of 4
Why is the computer keyboard working so hard?

Because it has two shifts!
Teacher Spotlight: Michele Amato
Michele Amato is a middle-school teacher at Eckstein Middle School (Seattle Public Schools), a member of the first Amazon Future Engineer Teacher Ambassador Cohort, and a member of the IGNITE Worldwide Advisory Board


Eckstein Middle School (Seattle Public Schools, 1050 students, 58.9% White, 16.4% Low Income)

Courses Taught

Five sections each semester between STEM Innovation Lab, Computer Tech Science, Robotics and 3D Design, Intro to Technology for 6th graders. Approximately 150-160 students each semester

Seattle Public Schools plan for Middle School CS

According to CTE Supervisor John Parker, “SPS is working to support CS elective classes in middle schools through CTE support. Additionally, CTE is partnering with the Science Department to provide a CS experience in all middle school 7th and 8th grade science classes so that all students have an opportunity to have a CS experience.”

Areas of Pride

  • Highlighted as the Seattle Public Schools CTE Pathway for Middle School STEM. Video Link
  • First year that I have more girls/non-binary than boys in one of my classes
  • Eckstein MS requires all 6th graders to take Intro to Tech A
  • As part of Amazon Future Engineer Teacher Ambassador cohort, got to meet with teachers from all 50 states from different grade levels. We are asked to do listening tours where we probe building, district & state leaders regarding CS Education.

Extra-curricular Activities 

What can local chapter do to better support middle school teachers?

I would love for CS to be a required class starting in kindergarten. Technology needs to be emphasized and not dismissed because it is thought that technology is integrated into all classes, so kids do not need to take a specific class.


  • 1993 Started as elementary school teacher
  • 2001 Started at Seattle Public Schools 
  • 2009 Completed Master's Degree at Lesley University in Computer Technology for Curriculum and Instruction. Signed up with CSTA
  • 2014 Started as middle school teacher, attended CSTA Conference in 2015, and soon complete CTE Certification
2023 Congressional App Challenge Winners 
Over the past few weeks, participating Washington congressional districts announced the winners of the Congressional App Challenge for 2023 in their district:
WA01 (Suzan DelBene): ViziBox - Aryav Taneja (The Overlake School)
WA02 (Rick Larsen): HopeHorizon - Sydney Vo and Azul Rangel (Mariner High School)
WA03 (Marie Gluesenkamp Perez): Teen Talk Youth Line - Abhay Kadambi (Union High School)

WA04 (Dan Newhouse): Human.exe - Jacob Bertelsen and Cooper Carey (Tri-Tech Skills Center)

WA05 (Cathy McMorris Rodgers): CamVisors - Matthew Yao (Walla Walla High School)

WA07 (Pramila Jayapal): AP FRQ Grader - Domenic Federico and Samuel Hartin Pasco (Bishop Blanchet High School)

WA08 (Kim Schrier): StreetsUp - Shaan Kalgaonkar, Arindam Sanyal, Kritish Alli, and Winston Luo (Eastlake High School)

WA09 (Adam Smith): Volapyk - Davin Aoyama and Abhay Raj
The Congressional App Challenge is hosted by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from about May through October each year for middle school and high school students within their districts to encourage them to learn to code and inspire them to pursue careers in computer science. Students can pre-register for the 2024 Congressional App Challenge and start coding their apps now. 
Planning for the Congressional App Challenge is a recommended idea for CS classes after AP/IB exams. If you have other ideas for the extended period after AP/IB exams, share them on the PSCSTA community (👥) Ideas for post-AP Exam Activities 2024

Update on SB 5849

In last month's Connector we discussed SB 5849 (2024) Relating to a computer science competency graduation requirement, what the bill means, and why it's important. On February 8, SB 5849 passed the Senate 46-3.
PSCSTA position on SB 5849 is OTHER. Although we appreciate the recognition of computer science as a foundational skill, we have serious concerns regarding the bill's implementation. PSCSTA testified OTHER at the House Committee on Education public hearing on SB 5849 on Feb 15. The PSCSTA Board approved this testimony based on feedback from an open membership meeting on Feb 12, and CS for All Washington soon co-signed onto this testimony. At the public hearing on SB 5849 on Feb 15, several other large education organizations in Washington also expressed OTHER opinions.  
With further amendments, SB 5849 passed the House Committee on Education 8-7 on Feb 20 and has been referred to Appropriations. 
For updates on the progress on SB5849, please visit the (👥) PSCSTA Community Thread on SB5849  
Struggling teacher in front of a growing pile of books
NCCE 2024
Jacqueline Russell and Elizabeth Bacon presented at NCCE 2024 in Seattle Feb 14-16. Fifteen attendees viewed their informational presentation "How CSTA Can Help You!" to learn all that CSTA has to offer. From Washington State Clock hours, Meetups, Events, PD offerings, and so much more!
Attendees also got a chance to collaborate, explore the CSTA website, sign up to become a CSTA/CSTA+ member, and even receive a PSCSTA Duck!
Picture from NCCE 2024 Wrap-Up

Data Corner: CS Enrollment Relative Participation by Race/Ethnicity

The 2021-22 K-12 Computer Science Education Data Summary Report provides the following data on the percentage of students in each racial/ethnic group (% of population) and CS Enrollment percentage (CSE %) in Washington. Dividing the CS Enrollment percentage of a racial/ethnic group by the overall CS Enrollment percentage - 8.4% - gives the CSE Relative Participation for that racial/ethnic group for Washington:
% of
Washington CSE Relative Participation
National CSE Relative Participation
Black/African American
Native American/Alaskan
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Two or More
Using the data from page 39 of the 2023 State of CS Education Report for CS Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity for 35 states and dividing the CSE population percentage by the total population percentage, one can derive the national CSE relative participation above. 
In the Nov 2023 edition of this newsletter, we reported that the CSE Relative Participation of Women (vs. Men) was 46% nationally and 47% in Washington.
CS Enrollment Relative Participation does not tell the entire story of racial/ethnic participation in CS education. It does not consider the content of the CS courses that students are enrolled in or whether students even have access to these CS courses in the first place.
March Education Updates
The Jan 2024 cohort of the PSCSTA CS Endorsement Exam Prep Course for Washington commenced on Jan 22 with 4 participants. We are now looking for participants for our June cohort. 
If you know of a teacher or junior/senior in a teacher prep program interested in getting endorsed in CS in preparation for SB 5849, let them know about this course and the scholarships that are available.
The Winter Session of CSTA online courses is from Jan 8 to Mar 17. These courses are free to CSTA+ members. PSCSTA provides free Washington clock hours for these courses for all its members - CSTA+ membership not required. Visit the PSCSTA website for the list of available courses and more details. 
PSCSTA Professional Development
Upcoming Events Updates
Going to SIGCSE 2024 in Portland Mar 20-23? Or have you been considering it? Either way here are a couple of things to take note of for this event:
  • K-12 Educators will have a discounted entry rate on Friday and Saturday. Make sure to register for SIGCSE using their website.
  • PSCSTA will be presenting on Friday March 22nd 12:45-1:35 PM in meeting room B110-112 Flock 3C. 
  • For those not able to attend, there will be a zoom link to virtually watch our PSCSTA presentation. All you’ve got to do is register for the event, then a zoom link will be emailed to you. If you want to attend virtually make sure to register no later then March 21st.
  • There will be a free CSTA Post SIGCSE BoF Meetup on March 22nd from 5-7 pm for local SIGCSE attendees and non-attendees.
We hope to see you at SIGCSE either in person or virtually!
More Events 
We are also looking for K-12 educators to apply to be a panelist for the CSTA Annual Conference. Applications are open until April 30th, 2024. Click HERE to learn more about being a panelist and to apply.
What are you doing May 23rd? Better block off 6:00-8:00 pm now for this years STEP CS Lighting Talks. This event will include an unconference and networking for teachers to get connected on the beautiful Bill and Melinda Gates Center on the UW campus. Dinner will be provided, to learn more and register click HERE.
Physical Computing Workshop
Chad Norman and Jacqueline Russell will be facilitating the 2024 Physical Computing Workshop and it is planned for May 4th from 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM on the Microsoft Redmond Campus. This is a hands-on, beginner friendly workshop where educators will explore physical computing.
Educators in grades 1-5 will explore micro:bit while grades 6-8 will explore Arduino. Four Washington state STEM clock hours are also available for those that attend.  

Regional Meetups

There are two Regional Meetups coming up soon that you'll want to mark your calendars for. If you want to learn more about either event or register, click on the hyperlink tagged with each meetup!
1) Randy Macdonald, Sean Glantz, and Lauren Bricker have put together a free Post SIGCSE BoF Meetup on March 22nd from 5-7 pm for local SIGCSE attendees and non-attendees to connect with other CSTA western chapter members. This meetup will be at Wayfinder Beer Pub in Portland, Oregon.
2) Andrew Woodbridge and Lawrence Tanimoto are organizing a PSCSTA Capitol Region meetup next month. It is planned to take place on April 25th from 4:30-6:30 PM in Olympia at Well 80. All are welcome from near and far! 
Remember it's never too late to organize your own in-person meetup. Whether it be regional, topic-specific, or just fun, PSCSTA will support your meeting endeavors by helping fund the meetup. This amount funded will be based on the number of members attending. See Create your own CS Educator meetup to learn more.
If you live or work in an area supported by one of the other Washington CSTA Chapters: Mid-Columbia, Spokane, or Central Washington, please view those chapters to view their local offerings. Joining one or more CSTA chapters - including PSCSTA - is free.  

Become More Involved in PSCSTA

Interested in becoming more involved in PSCSTA? Come join us for our next general meeting over zoom on Wednesday, March 6th from 7:00-8:00 PM. This meeting will include a quick introduction, discussion of upcoming events, and a more open discussion to finish the night off. We are always looking for your input and this is a great place to do just that! The Leadership board meets monthly and opens up meetings to general members once each quarter. 
If you are interested in joining the Leadership board stay tuned for election information coming soon. We are hoping new folks are interested in taking on Leadership roles for the PSCSTA. Elections will be taking place in June. 
Upcoming Events
PSCSTA Donate via Credit Card "Event"
Sep 01, 2023 - Aug 31, 2024
CS Endorsement Exam Prep Course for Washington State - June 2024 Cohort
Mar 01, 2024 - Mar 31, 2025
View entire list
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