Q: Which high schools are eligible to participate in the PACS research? A: High schools that meet the following criteria are eligible to participate in the PACS research:
Rural (NCES codes of 31-33) or Town (NCES codes of 41-43; Geverdt, 2015)
A regular public high school, not a career tech center.
A maximum of one teacher trained for AP CS Principles by A+ College Ready in summer 2020 (520018) and no other AP CS Principles trainings.
Did not offer the following CS courses in an in-person format 3 years prior to fall 2020:
AP CS A (520007);
Exploring Computer Science (520043);
Computer Science Essentials PLTW (520046);
Cybersecurity PLTW (520051);
Intro to Computer Science TEALS (520050).
Q: What is the deadline to make the commitment to join PACS as a participating school? A: Commitments to participate in PACS research are due February 8. We will send you a link to the commitment form. Your school will be notified of its assignment (to the immediate or delayed group) on February 26. Following that, we will need additional information from your school to sign up for summer PD (e.g., teacher and counselor participant information), but your school will be guaranteed spots in the summer trainings based on school-level assignment to the I (immediate) or D (delayed) group on February 26.
Q: Does the same teacher need to train for all three PACS courses? A: No. The school can determine which teacher trains for each course, as long as there is one teacher per course. Teachers can train for one PACS course or multiple courses.
Q: Would PACS offer any assistance for locating industry internships for senior students who complete the pathway of courses? A: Counselors who train through C4C via PACS will be offered resources for helping students to pursue industry internships.
Q: Does the ALSDE consider offering credentialing for students who complete the PACS pathway of courses? A: Credentialing opportunities in computer science (e.g., Microsoft Imagination Academy) can be implemented within PACS courses, if the school chooses to pursue such options. If you have more questions about CRIs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: If a school has a teacher who previously trained for AP CSP (through A+ College Ready or other source) or other pathway course, would that teacher need to repeat training with PACS? A: The PACS AP CSP course uses UTeach curriculum which is different than the A+ College Ready AP CSP course curriculum. The PACS pathway includes training for one teacher through UTeach for AP CSP in the third year of the program and the teacher will be required to use that curriculum. That could be the same teacher that trained through A+CR, or a different teacher. Remember, the training for PACS includes stipends (of $125 per day per teacher) and reimbursement for expensives during the UTeach training.
Q: Will the grant award include devices for schools? A: The grant is for professional development and support and will not include the purchase of devices.
Q: Will taking the PACS training give certification for the teacher taking the course? A: No, The PACS training will yield a course specific permit. CS certification will require the teacher to pass the Praxis exam.
Q: Will PACS offer support for teachers toward CS certification (Praxis prep)? A: PACS will not offer this support, but other options may become available and PACS will share that information.
Q: What will we get out of this? How will this help our teachers? Our students? A: Schools that participate in PACS will receive at no cost
Training for teachers and counselors to prepare next generation STEM workforce
Intensive multi-year support for building effective and enduring CS pathways for students
Year-round professional learning community
Curriculum and resources
Teachers will receive
Training to teach CS course
Course specific permit upon completion of training
Free and complete curriculum materials and support
Structure of support through network of colleagues
Stipends to compensate for training and data collection
Students will receive
Course(s) not previously offered in rural schools
Guidance from C4C trained counselor
State of the art STEM instruction
Preparation to join dynamic and diverse STEM workforce
Q: Where can we find the commitment form? A: Click here to access the commitment form
Q: Curriculum for ECS and AP CSP? A: Exploring Computer Science is a 6 unit curriculum focused on equity, inquiry, and computer science concepts; ECS uses a browser-based environment that can be accessed by any smartphone, tablet, or PC. The AP CSP curriculum designed by UTeach is 6 units focused on computational thinking practices and utilizing the Scratch and Python programming languages.
Q: How is this project different from computer science professional development through A+ College Ready? A: A+ College Ready offers teachers professional development for Advanced Placement Computer Science courses: AP CS Principles and AP CS A. These courses are typically offered at the 11th and 12th grade levels. PACS offers a computer science course sequence that begins in 9th grade with Explore Computer Science, continues in 10th grades with Algebra with Bootstrap, and leads to 11th grade AP CS Principles using the UTeach curriculum. PACS also provides counselor training through Counselors for Computing (C4C), helping counselors remove the barriers so high students in any grade can choose to learn computing, consider pursuing technical career paths, and believe their voices can be heard in the tech industry.