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PD Points and Teacher Licensing: Chickens and Eggs

I am nearing the end of my five year cycle for recertification, so I am reviewing what professional development activities I have participated in to see what qualifies for PDP's (professional development points) towards my recertification.

Looking at the professional development I have achieved over that past few years, there is a quite a list, much of it thanks to CSTA. I have attended the CS&IT Conference (now the CSTA Annual Conference) for the last four years and have enjoyed an array of interesting and useful sessions on different computer science topics. I have attended SIGCSE, MassCUE, and ISTE. Multi-day workshops at MIT on Scratch and UMass Lowell on Appinventor and Finch Robots were especially exciting and integral to changes in my curriculum. My local CSTA chapter offers enriching activities and opportunities to network with colleagues regarding CS topics.

However, when I try to align these fantastic professional development opportunities to my Professional Development Plan, it becomes a bit challenging. You see, my certification is in Mathematics. Yet, I teach Computer Science and in fact, have not taught math in 10 years (thankfully!) but, I need 120 of 150 PDPs in my content area, math.

Now, one might argue that since CS often falls under Mathematics in many school districts, then CS professional development should fall under Mathematics content. In fact, that's my game plan and I find myself looking for CS courses that have mathematical terms in the title that could count as math content.

The bigger issue here is that in my state, Massachusetts, there is no Computer Science license despite the fact that there are hundreds of CS courses being taught in schools across the state. This is indeed an issue in many states across the country. If we are to encourage students to pursue computer science courses and careers, we need teachers prepared to teach those students. It's a chicken/egg scenario. We need the courses. We need teachers prepared to teach those courses. Computer Science licensure for teachers would be a helpful step. Right now teachers like me must waste energy on professional development that is irrelevant to their jobs in order to retain their license to teach.

Karen Lang
CSTA 9-12 Representative

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