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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

I will start at the beginning of my story to explain why I titled my blog with the famous quote. The beginning of the 2011-2012 school year I had a conversation with one of the school board members for the school district where I am a teacher. I discovered during our conversation that she had been a mathematician and a computer scientist prior to retiring to raise her children. I had mentioned to her that I wanted to propose that the board recognize Computer Science Education Week. She suggested that I contact the superintendent and make the proposal to him. I followed through with her suggestion but did not receive a response during the school year from the superintendent. The teachers' union was in the middle of negotiating a new contract, so I felt this was not a good time to pursue my request.

During summer 2012, I wrote letters to each of the school board members asking them to support a proposal to recognize Computer Science Education Week. In my letter, I told the board members that I would be attending the next school board meeting to make my request public. I also sent an email to other computer science teachers in my district asking them to either attend the school board meeting to support me or to send a letters to the school board members requesting that they recognize Computer Science Education Week. I attached the letter I had written and the addresses of the school board members.

The following week I attended the school board meeting. I had prepared a statement and was relieved that I did. I was so nervous speaking to the board and the principals that I read the speech. The text of the statement is listed below:

Board Members and Administrators
I'm sure that you check your email, surf the Internet and use your cell phone as part of your daily life. It is computing and technology that make this all possible. Both play an important role in driving innovation and society. Since 2010 the US House of Representatives have endorsed Computer Science Education Week to raise awareness of the transformative role that computer science has played. Going forward, CS Ed Week will always be held the week containing December 9, Grace Hopper's birthday.

This year, December 9-15 has been designated as Computer Science Education Week. I am already planning my activities for the week which will include a field trip to Raytheon, a graduate student from UCI that will discuss her project using computers to help parents monitor their premature babies, and a guest speaker from the industry. I am requesting that the board recognize CS Ed Week just as you have recognized CTE, FFA, and student leaders. Please join with me to help promote awareness of the importance of computer science in our society.

Once again I did not hear any response from my request. Last week I was planning my next step when I received a surprise visit from the superintendent. He explained why it had taken so long to respond to my request. He told me that due to my request, the board had reviewed which groups they had honored at school board meetings. They discovered that sports received the most recognition and academics the least amount. It was decided, with the approval of the Athletic Directors, to decrease the number of times per year that athletics is recognized. The board decided to not only recognize Computer Science Week, but to recognize other academic areas. He asked that I send him a sample resolution for the board to use. That evening I visited the Computer Science Education Website (www.csedweek.org) to download the sample resolution that is listed under resources. I sent it to the superintendent with a thank you for dropping by my classroom.

It seems that "Good things come to those who wait" did apply to this situation.

Now, I need to get to work pulling together all of my activities for CS Ed Week.

What activities are you planning for CS Ed Week? It is not too early to begin your planning.
Myra Deister

CSTA At-Large Representative
Sunny Hills High School
Fullerton, CA


Well done!

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