Season 2 Episode 5: Systemic Change


In this episode, we talk to Leigh Ann DeLyser, co-founder and executive director of CSforAll. Our topic is the need to reform systems for sustainable equity. We discuss what it means and what CSforAll does. We also discussed the specific difficulties our host, Kristin Stephens-Martinez, has with her CS1 class and how it’s actually a systems problem.

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Kristin [00:00] Hello and welcome to the CS-Ed Podcast. A podcast where we talk about teaching computer science with computer science educators. For context, we are recording this episode on October 7th, 2020. So potentially some of the things we talk about will feel dated by the time you listen to this. Hopefully, the world will be better when this podcast is released than when it is recorded. With the disruption of Covid-19 and the latest calls for change in education due to racial inequality, this season’s theme is, “Where should we go from here?” in hopes we can all take a pause and ask ourselves, “If I had time to reflect rather than react, what should I be doing?” I’m your host, Kristin Stephens-Martinez, an Assistant Professor of the Practice at Duke University. And joining me today is Leigh Ann DeLyser, co-founder and Executive Director of CSforAll. So Leigh Ann, tell us about yourself and tell us about CSforAll

Leigh Ann [00:49] Hi, Kristin. Thanks so much for having me. So CSforAll is a nonprofit committed to the mission of making high quality computer science an integral part of every student’s educational experience during their K–12 years. And I am so proud to be its current executive director. But that’s not the only job I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve been a computer science teacher, a community college instructor, a research student, a partner to many of our different community members who listen to this podcast, and I’m so excited to be combining all of those parts of myself into this role. 

Kristin [01:29] Awesome. So our topic today is the need to reform systems for sustainable equity, and the first question that I actually would love for you to define is “What is systemic change?” Because I feel like systemic change is a word that I’ve heard. But I realize I don’t actually know what’s the systemic part, the adjective, actually means. 

Leigh Ann [01:52] Yeah, absolutely. And I think this is really, really important for computer science education, especially at this moment. We tend to think about change in connection to the people. Right. We provide professional learning for teachers. We put students in classrooms. We give them exams and we look at their outcomes and their scores. And so all of that is the people change that we’re doing in order to make computer science education happen. But those classrooms, those teachers, they inhabit school buildings, and those buildings are part of institutions, schools, school districts, policy environments. All of those things contribute to the system that all of those people have to operate in. And so a systems change is really important not just for the immediate countables of how many teachers and how many students we have, but for the long term sustainability of exactly what we’re trying to get to, which is equity. 

Kristin [02:54] I love this. I, one of my current frustrations is I feel like more and more of our culture, for lack of a better word, has such short term focus. That it just—it’s so frustrating to observe—the strong focus on the short term rather than thinking of the long term. And it sounds like systemic change very much focuses on like, “Rather than thinking of just like ‘this and now,’ let’s think of in terms of the long term sustainability of things.” 

Leigh Ann [03:24] Yeah. And this approach, this effort by CSforAll has a really strong connection to me in my personal journey. So I was a high school computer science teacher in New York State. I taught in this one school for eight years at a robotics club. I authored textbooks. I had a programming team that traveled and competed internationally. And I got this amazing experience to go to Carnegie Mellon as a visiting faculty member. And within a year of me leaving that school, there was no longer any computer science there. And so, perfect example of how the system actually wasn’t set up to sustain computer science. It really was about my efforts as a teacher that led to that program being in existence. And teachers like myself, they move on. They retire. They leave the classroom. They maybe even become administrators themselves. And if everything in our implementation of computer science education is dependent on that person, then we’re always going to have to keep fighting to add computer science to the system because the people change. 

Kristin [04:35] I like that insight. So what does CSforAll do specifically? 

Leigh Ann [04:39] Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that is great about systems is even though they are not people, people are the deciders in the systems. And so in schools and school districts, which is one type of system that we work with, the school administrators are the policymakers, are the deciders, together with the teacher. And if we bring together those working groups of teachers and administrators, they can set up policies. They can set up action items that actually bake computer science into the very foundation of those buildings and institutions, so that even as the people change, those policies and actions stay the same. 

Kristin [05:24] OK. So what does CSforAll do in that context, though. Like I buy the idea that the people are changing the system to make it do what it needs to do. But how does CSforAll add or cause these things to happen? 

Leigh Ann [05:41] Yeah, that’s a great question. So this kind of centers in on the high quality and integral part, part of our mission. So, so many administrators feel like they can’t make good decisions around computer science because they don’t know what it looks like. They don’t know what it means to do it well.

And so CSforAll runs a program called Script, where we provide tools and a guided process for teams of administrators, teachers, instructional staff, special educators, librarians to come together. Think about what they really want, what’s really important to them for students in their own communities. And then design a strategic plan of how to get there. How do you make change within your system? How do you add capacity and access in order to get more students into those classes and have them have high quality outcomes? 

Kristin [06:35] So do people come to you or do you go to the people? 

Leigh Ann [06:40] Yeah. So it’s a mix. Just like anything else. Some of our participants are super enthusiastic. When we did our symposium last January, the team from Connecticut was all-in. They, like, emailed us every other week to make sure that they were still in the workshop and could still come. And some other communities tend to be vollentold. Right.

So there are a few states across the country like Washington and Iowa, who’ve created this idea that strategic planning is an important part of their state plan. And so they are running these workshops of local partners and inviting the local districts and really building on those relationships that already exist in that state. The trusted nature that they have with those local on the ground folks to get them to come in and do this kind of strategic planning work that will cause the institutional change to happen over time. 

Kristin [07:37] So what does it look like on the ground? I am assuming it’s not always a CS class. I’m assuming there’s other things that can happen. Like in the actual—I don’t want to say classroom because I’m assuming that I don’t want to be that narrow—could you give an example of what actually happens? 

Leigh Ann [07:54] Yeah. So let’s talk for a second about another granularity of systems change that we’re working on. So we have a program this year called Eco-Systems for CS to bring our whole communities. And the nice thing about all of our different granularities is that we’re using a very similar process. So we bring them all in together. We get them to decide why computer science can have meaning for their particular community. So obviously, what computer science can do for kids in the Rio Grande Valley might be very different than what it can do for kids in rural Washington State. And so those community members decide what outcomes are meaningful to their community.

And then working with our facilitators and partners through the CSforAll community, they think about, “What is it? Is it a standalone class? Is it integrated computer science that’s baked into other subject areas? Is it connections for after school and enrichment programs for students to dig a little deeper? Is it career and technical education programs? And who are the corporate partners of the workforce partners on the ground that are going to help run that?”

And so CSforAll doesn’t have a checklist of what a perfect implementation looks like. Instead, we ask the systems to dream big about how to change the lives of youth in their community. And then we work together with them and leverage our membership in order to get them to that outcome, to help them take those small steps on the journey that is equity and computer science for all. 

Kristin [09:36] So sounds like you kind of bring to them, like, “Here’s a design process that you can follow, and at the end you’ll have like your version of what makes the most sense for your context.” And then I’m assuming you provide also like extra support as they start working on implementing their project. Does that sound about right? 

Leigh Ann [09:54] Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things to know is that systems are like squishy balls. 

Kristin [10:00] OK. 

Leigh Ann [10:01] When you squeeze them really hard in that moment, they will reshape and reform. But as soon as you let go, what happens to your squishy ball? 

Kristin [10:10] It goes back to normal. 

Leigh Ann [10:11] Goes back to what, what was normal right. 

Kristin [10:15] Yeah, what was normal. Good way of pointing that out. Yes. What was normal. 

Leigh Ann [10:18] What was normal. And so the ongoing support membership in CSforAll, participation in our webinars, the newsletter, the community outreach we do, the maintained close connection with your local Script facilitators. All of these things are there so that as that team starts to implement their plan to reach for their goals, they don’t let go of the squishy ball. That it doesn’t just like sigh back to the shape that it was before.

And so we continue to provide that support together with our membership as a way to not just get everybody to agree that it’s a good idea, but to get them to take action and make change. And then measure that action to make sure that we’re really having the impact we want to have for our students who are particularly underrepresented in terms of local populations and more likely to not access computer science at the levels of which they participate in other parts of the community. 

Kristin [11:23] Do you work with universities at all? 

Leigh Ann [11:25] Yeah, absolutely. We’ve a large number of universities in our membership and they play really important roles in the overall education system. So think about it from a student perspective for a moment, right? Yes, you can encounter computer science in your classroom. But you can also encounter it in an after school program. You might go to a summer program that’s being offered on a local college campus as a part of a National Science Foundation grant that they might have. You actually might have researchers who come and push into your classroom and you partner with your teacher to test out and maybe work to refine the instruction that’s happening in that classroom. That’s one way universities play an important role.

Another way they play an important role is in teacher preparation. One of the acknowledged largest challenges around computer science education is a lack of teachers. And it’s really hard because schools can’t just go to their local teacher college and say, “Who’s graduating this year in computer science education? Give me a resume.” 

Kristin [12:31] There’s so few people. I feel like that’s one of our failings right now. We don’t have a good pipeline for that. 

Leigh Ann [12:38] Yeah, we actually did an amazing project a couple of years ago with Aman Yadav, Mark Guzdial, Yasmin Kafai, and Joanna Goode looking at what do schools of education need to do to build this muscle so that as teachers come out of those institutions, they’re prepared for our classrooms of today. And I know that because there’s so many states that now require computer science, not only offering it at the high school level, but also in the elementary grades. And if our elementary teachers are not prepared to meet the required standards in a state for all academic subjects, then they’re really not prepared for our classrooms of today. 

Kristin [13:22] What did they find, out of curiosity? 

Leigh Ann [13:25] Yeah. So we found that we made a number of recommendations and it’s all available on the website, You can take a look at the different types of ways that schools of education can build that capacity. And at that time, there were 23 states that had a certification or endorsement for computer science, but only 12 states that actually had an approved program where you could earn that certification.

And since that time, we’ve added to both categories. We now have more states that have that endorsement or certification, and we do have more states now that have programs. But nowhere near where those numbers have become the same. And so we’re actually working on some updates to that project with some really interesting data that, by the time this podcast come out, will also be available on, where you can check out what programs are in your state, how they’re teaching computer science, and check out some sample course sequences and syllabi for teacher preparation programs who are integrating computer science into the preparation of both primary and secondary school teachers. 

Kristin [14:34] Cool. 

Leigh Ann [14:35] So I think starting to get like a big picture that systems like has a plural ‘S’ on the end of it. Because it takes all of us working together to make high quality education. It’s not just one teacher in one classroom, right? That teacher lives in a school which often exists within a district or whatever your state calls those regionally connected schools. We then have distributed education systems that exist within states. And within those regions, they have lots of partners. Right? You’ve got your informal education partners, your after school programs, you’ve got your local universities, you’ve got your teacher preparation programs that those schools tend to hire from. And so it’s this complex web and CSforAll was designed as a way to bring that entire web together under one umbrella and get them talking to each other and break down those silos and barriers between them. 

Kristin [15:35] It all sounds so complicated and like a wicked problem because it’s like wicked as in like the actual—I don’t know where I heard this definition—but a problem that seems extremely complicated. And I don’t know. How do you wrap your brain around that? 

Leigh Ann [15:51] Well, I mean, it really helps that all of these folks have signed on for membership in one way or another. We’re not doing this work alone. CSforAll doesn’t see itself as the implementer of all of this work. Instead, we own the dance floor. And we let all of these different partners do what they do well. They move together and apart in different formations as grants flow through the community. As, right, new initiatives come to light. And so, altogether, it actually makes for a really, really beautiful dance.

And so our job is to, you know, occasionally shine the spotlight on some places that aren’t getting attention. For example, our accessibility pledge in 2018, where we asked our community to stand up to make their work more accessible to students with disabilities, to highlight the great work that perhaps some of our members are doing, which is what we do with our medium and our community calls.

And then, sometimes, we have to make definitions. And so we bring the community together and synthesize what they’re saying is important in ways that we can make real change. And so, it’s not like we’re trying to somehow ‘drive the bus’ of where we’re all going as a community, but instead trying to really lift up those internal voices because, you know, this is one of those times where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. And so by bringing everybody together and getting them talking to each other, we can really work out those models of excellence for how to make the systems work and then shine a spotlight on where they might need to change or reform as we really try and bring equity to the fore in computer science education. 

Kristin [17:45] I feel like this is a good moment to ask you, what I’m asking all my season’s guests. What do you think we should do right now? What should we try to accomplish in a year? And what should we try and accomplish in five years.?

Leigh Ann [17:59] Yeah, so let’s start with right now. Look at the broken systems. It’s not about one classroom missing a teacher. It’s about an entire teacher preparation pipeline that does not offer CS as a part of a core set of disciplinary fundamentals. Right? Work in partnership with the communities. And this is especially for all the college faculty who I know are listening to your podcasts. The NSF research practice partnership line has created those really important partnerships between practitioners, teachers, and administrators, and the college faculty who are really just trying to help.

And so recognize that our practitioners, they’re not in year one anymore. They’ve been doing this for a little while and may have learned some things, and they even have outpaced us in some of the work that they’re doing in schools. So how do we find out what their problem of practice is right now. And help them solve that, as opposed to coming with our preconceived notions of what they need. Research on culturally relevant and responsive leadership starts with the notion of critical self awareness. Ask yourself, “What burden are you placing on your focus groups? And how is your research and partnerships actually requiring them to be ‘twice as good?’ To borrow words from Nicki Washington from Duke.”

Kristin [19:22] Nicki is awesome. 

Leigh Ann [19:23] She is, and she just joined our board of directors here at CSforAll. We’re so excited for that. 

Kristin [19:29] Awesome. 

Leigh Ann [19:30] So if you’re thinking about a year out. So systems move slowly. They are not as fast as people. Really don’t miss a call here in 2020 to reform systems of power. All of the institutions we move through as humans exert power over society. And if we start from an acknowledgment that the systems themselves are broken. Do we have to keep reapplying the bandaids? Keep calling for more teachers, more professional development, more students, and holding up the gaps that we’re unable to close once?

Or are we really trying to think about the systems reform? The changes that have to be baked in. So that we can focus on doing it better and not constantly trying to initiate. And for five years, remember two things, our systems, those squishy balls, they’re going to jump back but the problems will change. So CS education’s still a baby. Right? So think about the difference between a newborn and a kindergartner. There are completely new challenges in year five versus year one. Don’t get stuck in our early gap closing solutions and miss the opportunity to set up high quality and equity in the long game. 

Kristin [20:48] I’m trying to think through how I can apply that to my own situation. The CS1 at universities has to handle such a variety of students in such different preparation levels. 

Leigh Ann [21:03] Great. So let’s use this as an exercise in systems thinking. If we are not trying to reform the people, the teachers or the students. 

Kristin [21:13] Okay. 

Leigh Ann [21:14] What change could you make to the institution that helps alleviate that problem? 

Kristin [21:19] Well, the way that we currently do it—so at least I’m not going from a, making from whole cloth—is if a student comes into our CS1 and it’s clear that they have some programming experience, we often strongly encourage they take our CS2 instead. 

Leigh Ann [21:39] Yeah. And Harvey Mudd has created separate CS1’s. So rather than bumping a student forward because that might not always be appropriate, allowing them to come in at different points. And even though then they have the same output, they all end CS1 and go to CS2. But they have critically reduced the dropout rate and increased the participation rate, especially of young women, by creating cohorts that are centered in on the experience level of the students coming in. 

Kristin [22:05] Yeah, I’ve talked to Colleen about that one. And Colleen was at Harvey Mudd. And the thing that I struggle with most is how to frame it so that students don’t create a negative culture for if you are not in the top group, for lack of a way of defining it. And so they then look at the ones who didn’t make it to the top group and they’re like, “Oh, you are a second class citizen. Like, you don’t know as much as I do. And I am therefore better than you.” Like, that’s the piece that I struggle with. And I feel like I would have to actually go to Harvey Mudd and just watch them for a whole semester just to kind of learn how they prevent a toxic culture like that. 

Leigh Ann [22:52] Well, the question is, is it more toxic in the dorm? When you have students who enrolled in different classes. Or the classroom where you have students who feel like they’re unable to answer because their peers raise their hand and are called on faster than you can think through the problem. 

Kristin [23:08] I hadn’t thought of it that way. I don’t know. That is a good question, though. That is something to consider. I hadn’t thought of that. Cost versus benefit. 

Leigh Ann [23:19] Yeah. So Rafi Santo, who is a colleague of ours and is finishing up a project following eight school districts through a year long process of looking at the way they’ve created system routines around equity. One of his big takeaways is that you reform the system, not the students. 

Kristin [23:42] What does that mean exactly? 

Leigh Ann [23:44] Right. So let’s go back to our example. It’s not about creating extra help for the students to help them catch up. It’s not about somehow making extra office hours or extra labs to try and get those students who didn’t come in with the same preparation, reformed to meet their peers. Instead, what Colleen did while she was at Harvey Mudd and what the larger Harvey Mudd computer science department has done is they’ve created a system where you don’t have to reform the student. The student is added in a way that honors the strengths they bring to the program and has common outcomes to, you know, I think—‘catch them up’ is the wrong way to phrase it.

Kristin [24:28] Yeah. 

Leigh Ann [24:29] Put everybody on the same starting point for CS2. One of the most important things as we’re thinking about equity for all students is to think about them from an asset based mentality. What are the assets that students bring with them? How do we leverage those assets and design the systems to make the best use of those assets? As we work towards the outcome we desire at the other end of the educational institution. 

Kristin [24:56] I think I’m struggling to picture what they’ve done at Harvey Mudd to make that work, but I think that’s definitely a case of more needing to dig deeper and understanding what’s going on. But I do have a different question. 

So one idea that I had to try and change the dealing with different students coming in to CS1 at different levels, is to take the CS1 and basically transform it over multiple years, because I know that the transformation would take me multiple years to get right, into a flipped, asynchronous, mastery class. And so the idea would be to figure out a way to allow students to go through the material as quickly or as slowly as they need to with the goal that by the end of the semester, everyone will have mastered the material they need to master.

Some students, for example, who aren’t quite ready for CS2, but CS1’s gonna be, in some ways, really boring if it was synchronous, they’ll be able to get to the material quickly or they’ll be like, wait a while and then start later in the semester and still get through the material quickly while others who need the entire time get that entire time. And that would be a different way to handle the large variety or to handle the diversity of student experiences when they come into the classroom. But it feels like from what you’ve just said about equity and everything, this isn’t quite right. 

Leigh Ann [26:30] So let’s take the fairness perspective for a second. 

Kristin [26:33] OK. 

Leigh Ann [26:34] Right? You have two students who come into Duke. They are placed in the same class. They’re going to earn the same credit hours. One is going to spend three times as much time to earn those credit hours as the other. 

Kristin [26:44] Yes. 

Leigh Ann [26:45] And from what we know about computer science education, it is likely that that student who has to spend three times as much time may also need to work at the same time they’re taking the class. They also have family members that they’re trying to care for. They have other outside factors that prevent them from focusing solely on their classwork is the only thing they do in their life in that semester.

Kristin [27:13] So is it still fair… if a student who comes in with no prior experience, would have spent the same amount of time they would have if the class hadn’t changed? So if a student comes in with no prior experience and they spent X number of hours to learn the material in a before transformation year, and after we do this whole transformation, they come in with no prior experience and they spend that same amount of time. Is that fair compared to the student who came in with a lot of prior experience and then went through the material much faster?

I can definitely see students perceiving this as unfair to a certain extent because they look at their peers who had all the prior experience, blaze through the material quickly while they come in with no experience and they don’t necessarily recognize the inequality there. And so they then see it as they must be slow. And that’s definitely something that I haven’t thought through enough to figure out how to combat. I agree that that’s definitely a problem as I’m talking my way through this. 

Leigh Ann [28:14] Yeah. And, you know, I think we have this version of meritocracy in our brain. This, much as we talk about it no longer being a weeder class in CS1, no longer a determinant of who is worthy, there are still some, you know, things that dribble in in our conversation that anchor back into inequitable practices in education. College is predicated around this notion of course hours. How much time you spend to develop mastery and earn credit? 

Kristin [28:50] Yeah, that part bothers me, too. 

Leigh Ann [28:51] Right. And so, of course, someone coming in from a K–12 institution that didn’t give them the same enrichment experience is going to have to spend more time to gain that knowledge and practice. The question is, are they doing college level work? And should they be rewarded for it? Or are they doing remedial work and you’re somehow creating a situation that needs to remediate the student? For what we see as a failing in K–12. And it’s one of the reasons why we have to think together as a system. Because if our colleges are, quote unquote, “remediating” students who are coming in without this fundamental baseline knowledge from their K–12 institution, then we at K–12 are failing them in making them college ready.

Kristin [29:49] Yeah, I guess for me. One thing that I try and hammer into my students—or very much make the class understand—that I assume they know nothing when they come in through my door. And it’s actually I think one way I get a bunch of students to take the CS2 instead. I tell them that, like, “If you know something, you might be bored in this class because you are not my audience.” And in some ways, it frustrates me, actually. Some of my colleagues then tell me that I should add tougher things to the curriculum, to throw the “smart,” quote unquote, students a bone. And I’m like, “But the class is not for them.” I feel like I shouldn’t have to throw them a bone. They shouldn’t be there. 

Leigh Ann [30:23] But they also have nowhere to go. 

Kristin [30:25] True. 

Leigh Ann [30:26] So again we’re trying to reform the people, the students, or you in your teaching methodology in a broken system that’s combining them together in a way that’s inappropriate for the knowledge they have. 

Kristin [30:43] I am starting to agree with you more. But another problem is like, “But what can I do?” Like, I guess in some ways I feel powerless to do anything outside of my class. 

Leigh Ann [30:51] Yes! And that’s the whole point. If the teachers or instructional personnel are the only advocate for change. They can only change what’s inside their four walls. And so my response to you would be, “Let’s sit down with your dean and your administration and talk about these problems together and see if we can design a way to change the system to meet their needs.” It has to be collaborative because the system is owned by multiple people. They can’t do it alone. And that’s the whole point.

Yes. We need those teacher leaders and those advocates. Absolutely. And they’re doing amazing creative things on the ground. I want to make their job easier. I don’t want them to have to bend over backwards because the system is broken. You as an instructor shouldn’t have to bend over backwards in this untenable situation because the system is broken. We need to fix the system. 

Kristin [31:58] I guess like. I don’t have enough experience to actually really even envision what that would require because like the most I can think of is we are dealing with what is given to us when students enroll into the university and you’re kind of referring to going up a level even higher and looking at not just the university, but the inputs and outputs of the pieces of the system that input into the university as well. And looking at those. 

Leigh Ann [32:30] Yeah, we all operate at different levels of granularity in our work. Right? And for me, I get excited about macro-level systems change. Because I have this amazing membership and community working every single day to do it on a local level, on a building level, on a community level, on a state level, and yes, even a whole bunch of orgs that are trying to do it on a national level. So I’m not doing this alone. And in fact, that was my recommendation to you, was to not do this alone.

And so probably the most important thing you can do for systems change is sit down in a room with partners, and administrators, and decision owners, and think about: What are the symptoms of our broken system? And then work together, because I can tell you that America’s education workforce, our teachers, our administrators, our out of school time professionals, our community leaders, our parents, they are some of the most creative problem solvers on the planet. They’ve had to be. And if we just put them together and let them imagine a better future for kids, they’re going to come up with some pretty amazing ways to change the systems that are stuck in a model that’s been around for 100 years.

If Covid is anything. It’s a chance for us to throw away our duct tape glasses. You know, that pair of glasses that kind of broke and is a little wonky and so you duct tape a corner of it and then they still kind of stay on your head and you know you need a new prescription, but you’re comfy with the ones you have. You don’t want to haul your butt all the way down to the eye doctor’s office to get the new prescription and order the new glasses. That’s where we are. We’ve got an education system that is a pair of duct tape glasses. 

Kristin [34:35] Yeah, I agree with you there. 

Leigh Ann [34:37] And all of the stuff around coronavirus has basically said, “Nope, duct tape is not going to hold anymore.” And it’s giving us the motivation to really question what change can we make? We’ve seen such an increase actually in demand this summer for our strategic planning workshops. And the teams that are coming to do the planning are open in a way that they haven’t been before to reimagining what happens in their buildings.

It is heart wrenching that at this time of crisis, of health in the world, when coronavirus has reared its ugly head, that at the same exact time our communities of color—and especially our Black community—is calling for equity and justice and systems reform. But those two things happening at the same time have created pressure on our education systems that the likes of which we have not seen for a generation. It’s letting us reimagine what it means to do education well. What high quality education is? Who is it for and how is it broken? And how can we really understand what all of our students need to start their professional lives from an even playing field? And in this moment where the world is poised to imagine a better place, I think it’s the perfect opportunity for computer science education—with its connection to real-world problem solving, to communication and collaboration and a movement that has equity and social justice as a part of its core fundamentals—I think it’s a perfect time for us to come in and work hand in hand with education systems to reimagine how we create the workforce of tomorrow. 

Kristin [36:39] I’m like just sitting here a little speechless just kind of taking it in. (sigh)

Leigh Ann [36:46] Well, you know, I tell my team on a regular basis that I’m a glass a quarter-full kind of girl. And I think now in 2020, we’re facing so many challenges. And I am fortunate to have such privilege in my life even having grown up in a log cabin, my father built on a mountain in rural America. The path that has led me to this place constantly leads me to question the systems. 

Kristin [37:16] Well, I’m glad that you’re here and you’re figuring it all out. 

Leigh Ann [37:19] Thank you. 

Kristin [37:20] All right. And with that, let’s close with TL;DL, too long, didn’t listen. What would you say is the most important thing you’d want our listeners to get out of our conversation? 

Leigh Ann [37:32] To make the biggest change, we can’t reform the people alone. It’s not about fixing the students or fixing the teachers. Because those humans inhabit buildings, institutions, systems, policy environments. And all together we need to consider how to change those things to really, really make sustainable equity for students. 

Kristin [38:00] Very nice. Alright, well, thank you so much for joining us, Leigh Ann. 

Leigh Ann [38:05] I am so happy to be here. And I hope now you have a slightly bigger picture about what systems reform means. 

Kristin [38:13] Definitely. I definitely feel like I have a much better idea. And it’s like I have a better idea. But I think I’m also a little more overwhelmed. But that is OK. 

Leigh Ann [38:22] That’s OK. You don’t have to do it alone and you shouldn’t. 

Kristin [38:25] Yes. And this was the CS-Ed Podcast hosted by me, Kristin Stephens-Martinez at Duke University, and produced by Amarachi Anakaraonye. And, remember, teaching computer science is more than just knowing computer science. And I hope you found something useful for your teaching today.

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