Membership Newsletter

July 2021
Dedicated bulletin to Computer Science Teachers of the Puget Sound and WA State

Message from the President:

Ahh, summer! That time when well-meaning non-teacher folks ask you "So what are you doing with your time off"? I don't know about you all, but after I take a breath I tell them all of the things teachers get to do now that we're not in the day-to-day throws of running classes.... like all that housework we put off, or re-working curriculum based on lessons learned from the previous year, or perhaps the weeks of professional development. Generally, the response is a look of disbelief... they expected some news of *some* relaxing vacation to far-off locales with all of our "free time."  At least we get to tackle our to-do lists on our own schedule, not squeezing them in around meetings and classes, though generally, it takes a promise of "there will be at least a short vacation" before they are placated.
Summer for PSCSTA generally may seem pretty quiet as we try not to host events to be respectful of whatever summer plans you all have. However, this is our planning time, including revisiting our chapter's goals and progress and attending the Chapter Leaders Summit at the CSTA Annual Conference.  Part of our planning included hosting another "all hands on deck" meeting on June 9th where attendees shared upcoming news and events and we heard from Amy Ko about the increased offerings of pre-service CS programs in WA state. BTW, don't miss Amy's Keynote at the CSTA annual conference, and make sure to come to the PSCSTA chapter meet up on the first day of the conference (Wednesday, July 14, 3:20 - 4:05 p.m.)
The two other important bits of information are that it is time for our annual elections and planning for our events for next year.
  • Currently, our steering committee is comprised of me (Lauren Bricker) as President, Tracey Sconyers as VP, Lawrence Tanimoto as Treasurer, and Alec McTavish as a member at large. We are accepting nominations for these positions as well as our vacant Secretary position, and 1-3 committee members-at-large. Please fill out this form by Wednesday, June 30th with any nominations, and be on the lookout for your online ballot in July!
  • Please fill out this form if you have any suggestions for our 2021-22 events
That is all for now. I do hope you all find time to rest and rejuvenate this summer and I appreciate you taking the time to read this on your break!!!
2021 Elections
We will be holding elections at the end of June.
We're taking nominations for positions! Please fill out this form with any people you'd like to nominate as PSCSTA officers. 
Looking to lead? 
PSCSTA has always been run by a small steering committee. Have a talent with social media and marketing? Or maybe you're *really* good at thinking of events for an organization. Join us for a meeting!
Our leadership team meets once every month from 7-8pm (virtually). Email for an invitation to our next meeting. We'd like to keep this organization going with fresh ideas and new energy! 

Member Spotlight:

Daniel Jones

"I have lived in the pacific northwest my entire life and can chart back three generations on my mom's side. I love this state and all its natural beauty. I identify as male, Christian, brother, uncle, and Mr. DJ to my students. I am a proud UW Bothell grad and currently employed at King's Elementary. I love to try new things, and currently, my most significant project is renovating the house, which is almost 100 years old, that my wife and I recently purchased. I engage in youth mentorship through my church and try to serve my community as best I can."
What motivates you / What are you passionate about?
"Sharing knowledge has always been a passion of mine. When you give someone information that opens their eyes to new possibilities and capabilities that is what I live for. Therefore, technology and specifically computer science is so fascinating. There are endless ways it can be applied, and new discoveries are still being made. I am also passionate about serving my community, which is why I currently attend Shoreline Community Church and am presently employed at King's Schools. Both organizations make it a core focus to serve the communities they inhabit. Lastly, my passion for the outdoors and nature takes me on many hikes throughout the year and inspires me to better my photography skills."
Why did you decide to join CSTA Puget Sound?
"I joined CSTA Puget Sound after graduating from UW Bothell with an Applied Computing Degree minoring in education. I wanted to connect with other computer science educators in the area to gain experience and find opportunities to put my skills to work. I want to support this organization and see it help other educators connect and share ideas on teaching and learning Computer Science for K-12 students."
As a new teacher, what benefits does PSCSTA bring to you?
While I have only been a member for a short time, we all know that this pandemic has made it difficult for educators and students to stay connected. As things transition back to more in person, I hope this organization will provide a connection for educators. I have already felt the benefits of just being around other professionals struggling with the same challenges and providing their experience; this is invaluable to myself and other first-year teachers.
Do you have any advice for anyone new to teaching CS?
"Make sure that you don't box yourself in with one area of computer science. Computer Science is far more than just coding and learning how to use loops and other core concepts. Computer Science, at its core, is about problem-solving and critical thinking. With coding, there are usually hundreds, thousands, and more likely billions of ways to solve a problem. Students and even educators can explore why a particular method might be better than another, yet there is always room for personal expression. In my first year, I have been sometimes amazed by a student's unorthodox solution to a given problem and cannot fault them since it usually solves the problem in roughly the same number of steps."
What’s your perfect “off” day?
"The perfect day off for me would comprise taking a hike up on gorgeous cascade mountains on a warm summer day where I have the trail to myself and my friends—at the top, jumping into one of the clearest glacier-fed lakes. Once complete, I enjoy returning to civilization to have an excellent burger and milkshake from Teddy's and watch the sunset on the Edmonds waterfront."
We hope you enjoyed this spotlight! We've added membership spotlights to our newsletter as a way to learn more about each other and make better connections. Please email if you are interested in spotlighting your journey in teaching computer science. If you'd like to connect with other chapter members, contact information is available through the Membernova portal. 

Welcome New Members! 🎉

- Joachim Horn from New York City, NY as of June 22nd!
- Kenneth Blaha from Tacoma, WA as of June 10th!
- Jeff Gunn from Portsmouth, VA as of June 9th!
- Nancy Harris from Issaquah, WA as of May 4th!
- Emily Elasky from Seattle, WA as of May 1st!
- Nat Ballou from Bainbridge Island, WA as of April 30th!
- John Walker from Bellevue, WA as of April 28th!
- Amanda Rodda from Longview, WA as of April 25th!
- Morten Hagen from Portland, OR as of April 6th!
- Taylor Isom from Seattle, WA as of March 18th!
- Vicki Bates from Auburn, WA as of March 17th!
- Gavin Lees from Auburn, WA as of March 17th!

2021 CSTA Annual Conference

CSTA's Annual Conference is a chance for computer science teachers to come together for learning, networking, and fun. We are a community of educators who are changing the lives of students every day in our classrooms. We are eager to share our knowledge and to learn from one another.
July 14-16, 2021
Chapter Meetup on Day 1
Wednesday, July 14, 12:20 - 1:05 p.m PT

Our three-day virtual conference has over 100 sessions of education to broaden your knowledge of computer science education, inspirational keynotes and sessions to reinvigorate your passion for teaching, and countless moments of fun and connection along the way. If you are looking for new and exciting ways to engage with your students in your classroom, look no further than CSTA 2021. You don't want to miss out on this great experience. 

Stay Tuned for the UW - PSCSTA CS4teachers workshop aiming to:

  • Expose you to exciting examples of computer science operating in close relationships with other disciplines.
  • Teach you the basics of computational problem solving and give you the vocabulary to relate these concepts to your students and your own subject material.
  • Broaden your view of computer science and the way it is shaping Washington's communities and people--and those of the entire world.
  • Explore opportunities for you to help broaden your students' interest in computer science and dispel myths about what computer science is and is not.

August 2 - August 6, online format

9:00AM PT to 12:00AM PT with optional afternoon office hours

Why CS Virtual Summit, October 22-23

We are excited to announce a statewide Computer Science Education Summit planning effort, with the goal of bringing together educators on October 22nd and 23rd, 2021 to discuss the future of K-12 CS education in the state.

The CS Summit will provide a big-picture view of the computing education landscape (including policies; practices; and data on access and participation) provides the backdrop against which to identify gaps, set strategy, and measure change and progress.

  1. How CS improves student learning: competencies, literacies, 21st-century skills

  2. How CS drives technological, social & scientific innovation

  3. Why access to CS is an equity & social justice matter

  4. Why CS is a critical component of school reform and improvement

Helpful Resources

From the WA Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: