The CREATE STEM Success Initiative is pleased to share that Sweetwater High School senior Karla Gonzalez was one of only six students from across the country selected to participate on the 100 AP CSP Computer Science Principles Teachers panel during the 100 Computer Science Teacher Summit held in Boston earlier this month. The College Board and National Science Foundation sponsored the teacher and student panel at the summit to kick off Computer Science Education Week, convening leading educators from around the country teaching the new Computer Science Principles AP curriculum.

Gonzalez served as a student representative of the AP Computer Science Principles course for Sweetwater High School (SHS) and the Sweetwater Union High School District. Art Lopez, SHS computer science and district curriculum specialist for computer science, and Gonzalez’s AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) teacher, also attended the summit.

According to Lopez, Gonzalez was an “incredible student participant” on the 100 AP Computer Science Principles Teachers panel.

“Karla explained what she had learned and shared her experiences about the CSP course at Sweetwater High School with teachers and College Board and National Science Foundation officials from across the country,” Lopez said. “She demonstrated the work she created in the course, the programs she developed and explained how the CSP course inspired her to pursue a degree in computer science.

“At first, she thought computer science would be intimidating,” Lopez continued, “but by taking the course and curriculum she found that it was not intimidating, and that she really enjoyed it. People at the event were deeply impressed with Karla’s abilities, including her communication and analytical skills. We are so proud of her!”

CREATE STEM Success Initiative staff acted as key supporters to Sweetwater Union High School District and several San Diego County school districts in expanding AP Computer Science courses with the San Diego Supercomputer Center, through the National Science Foundation Computer Science (CS)-Creating a Village for Educators (CS-CaVE) grant, a nearly $1M project boosting computer science skills in underrepresented school districts.

“Congratulations to the Sweetwater Union High School District and to Art Lopez,” said Susan Yonezawa, CREATE associate director and CREATE STEM Success Initiative network coordinator. “We’re excited the district’s innovative and unequivocal commitment to providing high quality computer science instruction to students has been recognized at a national level.”

CS-CaVE, a joint grant led by the San Diego Super Computer Center at UC San Diego and CREATE along with faculty from Computer Science Engineering, is a broad-based effort to bring resources to three school districts – Sweetwater, San Diego Unified, and Vista Unified – to increase underrepresented students’ participation in CS courses. Concretely, the grant brings $55,500 to each district to support CS, but beyond that it also brings university expertise, consultation, and opportunities to network CS teachers with one another across three districts.

Along with Lopez, district computer science teachers Maricruz Rosete and Yesenia Cedillo-Ramirez from San Ysidro High School, and Juan Ramirez from Otay Ranch High School, were also selected to attend the event.

“Our teachers really enjoyed the summit; they learned a lot about teaching computer science through the numerous topics discussed,” Lopez said. “I thought we all gained some great ideas for improving our abilities and outreach to teach CSP and computer science courses in general for the students of the district.”

To learn more about the NSF Computer Science (CS)-Creating a Village for Educators (CS-CaVE) grant, contact Susan Yonezawa, CREATE associate director and network coordinator for the CREATE STEM Success Initiative.