Computer Science for High School



First name

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123 Number Street




123-456-7890 (US phone)


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South Hampton Institute of Technology


Professor of Computer Science


123 Number Street





123-456-7890 (US phone)


Please use this space to describe how sponsorship funds will be used:

This project, entitled Middle-years Computing Science, or MyCS, seeks to bring CS curriculum to three districts whose middle schools currently offer no computer science options at all. Because our curricular efforts began at the middle-school level, we have strong ties to local middle schools. However, we also have in-place commitments by our local district, with the potential to expand to neighboring districts, to offer MyCS at the high-school level, too. (We realize we may have to rename the high-school-level course!) The proposers of this project are Professor Michael Erlinger, Chair of the Computer Science department at Harvey Mudd College, Professor Zachary Dodds, Professor Christine Alvarado, and HMC's President, Maria Klawe. Mike and Zach will take on the day-to-day responsibilities of preparing for, running, and reporting on the proposed workshop.

Specifically, the Google Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) funds would be used at Harvey Mudd College in order to offer a one-week workshop to 12 middle- and high-school teachers. We realize that 12 teachers is smaller than a typical CS4HS workshop -- and that one week is longer than usual. Yet these small tweaks, we believe, have the potential to make a far greater impact by changing our partner schools at an institutional level as well as at the individual teacher level. Thus, our CS4HS workshop will not only introduce teachers to CS ideas, it will also serve as a pre-service workshop in which those teachers learn -- and adapt to their local needs -- a CS course that will expand their school's curriculum. In at least one case, it will be the entirety of the computer science curriculum available to students.

The workshop schedule would cycle among three fundamental activities, with an emphasis on hands-on learning of the curriculum early in the week transitioning to brainstorming and adaptation in the latter part of the week.

(1) presentations on CS ideas and resources

(2) hands-on labs in which the teachers learn those resources and exercise computational thinking. HMC students and the faculty would staff these labs, providing a 1:2 instructor-to-teacher ratio. This attention will help ensure success and thus generate excitement about the possibilities these materials offer.

(3) brainstorming and feedback sessions, in which the teachers teach us how these materials could best be deployed at the middle-school or early high-school level. In these sessions, small groups of teachers would plan, refine, and share curricular modules or exercises that they could bring back to their classrooms in the fall and spring. Equally important, these sessions would enable us to improve MyCS's materials and would form the starting point for a library of classroom-deployable ideas, by teachers and for teachers.

Total funds requested:

The following budget details the purpose for the $22,000 proposed funds:

  • $12,000: teacher stipends
  • $ 3,000: logistics, meals, and materials for the workshop
  • $ 4,000: four student assistants for the labs and module adaptations
  • $ 3,000: support for the two investigators running the workshop

In particular, each teacher would receive $1,000 for participating in the workshop. As a condition of that participation, each teacher would contribute an adaptation of a MyCS module to our library of resources and, by extension, to the Google CS4HS repository. Google's survey and follow-up surveys through the 2011-2012 academic year would also be a part of this agreement. The teachers deploying MyCS during the 2011-2012 academic year would, in addition, contribute data, reflections, and insights to our ongoing assessment of that curriculum. The $1,000-for-one-week figure is exactly what the NSF provides as part of its RET program whose goals are almost identical to CS4HS.

The $3,000 figure for on-site workshop support reflects comparable efforts in the past. Because almost all of the participants are local -- and because of the proposed stipends -- relatively little additional travel support is included here. The $2,000 would support four HMC computer science students for two weeks of assistance, using our institution-standard support of $500 per student per week. The first week would be before the workshop, in which the students would learn the curriculum themselves; the second week would be to support the lab and curricular-adaptation activities of the workshop itself. Finally, the $3,000 of support for the two faculty members organizing, running, and following up on the workshop reflects the additional efforts beyond the MyCS development already underway.

Please include the names and contact information of all of the faculty involved:

The two faculty who will design, deploy, and assess the CS4HS workshop are

  • Michael Erlinger
  • (123) 456-7891
  • (please see USPS address below)
  • Zachary Dodds
  • Professor, HMC Computer Science Department
  • (123) 456-7891
  • (please see USPS address below)

The two investigators who are part of the broader MyCS effort and who will help advise this Google CS4HS workshop are

  • Christine Alvarado
  • Associate Professor, HMC Computer Science Department
  • (123) 198-7654
  • (please see USPS address below)
  • Maria Klawe
  • President, Harvey Mudd College

The campus-wide USPS address will reach all of these investigators

What are the specific goals for your 2011 CS4HS workshop?

Broadly, our goal for this workshop is to enable, for the first time, a computer-science-based curricular offering in at least the following school districts and schools: Claremont Unified (at El Roble middle school and Claremont High School), Pomona Unified (at the International Polytechnic High School), and the Lihue, HI district's Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. We have identified several other districts whose teachers have expressed interest in MyCS, if this proposed pre-service training were available.

As a bit of context, on February 10th, 2011 we met with the Claremont school district administrators in order to decide how the district-wide technology curriculum could better serve our students. As a result of that meeting, both the administrators and the teachers of computer-survey and computer-applications courses recognized the limitations of these existing curricular offerings within both the middle and high-schools. They agreed, with the superintendent's full support, to add at both levels a new course that would introduce students to the power of fundamental computer science ideas. They also agreed to pilot the MyCS curriculum as the basis for that course. The inclusion in the other school districts, listed above, have flowed from the administrative support that Claremont Unified has shown: it is far more palatable to make curricular changes -- even those for which there is a great demand -- if it is possible to point to other districts in which they are already underway.

Our MyCS curriculum, still under development, gives students a hands-on, one-semester distillation of the "beauty and awe" of computing. Its core materials and topics draw from the successful year-long Exploring Computer Science course (ECS) created at UCLA. Like ECS, MyCS uses well-established materials to engage students in computational thinking: CS Unplugged, Scratch, LightBot, circuit- and robot-building, media-based computational manipulation, and CS4Fun are a subset of the resources from which MyCS derives its activites.

The proposers of this CS4HS workshop have received a MyCS development grant by funding internal to Harvey Mudd College for the summer of 2011. That award will enable the completion of a first-draft curriculum. In addition, we will submit an NSF proposal to support the development of Middle-years Computing Science -- if successful, that project would begin in mid-2012. Thus, this proposal for a CS4HS workshop bridges the early experimental efforts we have begun with the much larger future deployment of middle-school CS curriculum. The Google CS4HS workshop's combination of computational experience and pre-service training is thus crucial to maintaining momentum and providing pilot data over the next twelve to eighteen months when the effort might otherwise stagnate.

Although these paragraphs have outlined the broad goals and future directions of MyCS, we also have a concrete set of objectives for the proposed CS4HS workshop:

  • (1) to provide pre-service training for twelve teachers, who currently teach technology courses at the middle- and high-school level, and who have agreed -- or who are considering -- offering an adaptation of MyCS at their schools.
  • (2) to excite these teachers about computer science, as it both supports and expands the technical skills that they already convey to their students. In this way, we hope to change, incrementally and to the extent that teachers are comfortable, existing technology curricula.
  • (3) to present and clarify student futures that overlap with computer science. This includes a presentation by the faculty and by HMC students on the breadth and variety of careers open to computationally savvy students.
  • (4) to generate feedback on which facets of the MyCS curriculum the teachers feel are most deployable in their classrooms -- and which aspects need further refinement or outright replacement.
  • (5) to create a repository of successfully deployed MyCS modules that will serve as a resource to middle-school teachers (and high-school teachers) anywhere.
  • (6) to significantly increase the number of students participating in computer-science-based courses, both in the districts listed above and beyond.

For all six of these objectives, we will collect data in order to assess the workshop's role in sparking personal changes among the participating teachers and in fostering district-wide changes that will open computer science opportunities to many more students.

Who is your target audience and what is your recruiting strategy.

When we discovered the CS4HS program, we began recruiting teachers who would be interested in joining a pre-service MyCS workshop, if it were to happen.

Already we have commitments from at least four teachers. They are

  • - Vanessa Mejia, who teaches technology at Claremont’s El Roble Middle School
  • - Brian D’Ambrosia-Donner, who teaches and coordinates technology for teachers at El Roble
  • - Jennifer Gomez, who teaches the computer survey course at Claremont High School (CHS)
  • - Cheryl Fiello, who is the coordinator for the computer survey teachers at CHS

In addition, we have built a partnership with Claremont Graduate University's School of Education. They have helped us realize that -- at least as much as the intrinsic interest in computation and a modest stipend -- the incentive of continuing-education credits is a strong incentive for teachers. All districts require these experiences, and each district decides for itself what workshop, classes, or other activities qualify. We are working with the administrators of Claremont Unified in order to ensure that the Google CS4HS workshop will provide such continuing-education credits for that district: it is extremely likely that it will. When formalized, this will create a chain reaction that will ensure we have many more potential participants than we can support. As our collaborators at the education school pointed out to us, "We can have twenty people there tomorrow." Thus, we are fortunate that we can recruit selectively, rather than casting out for anyone willing to join us. We will use that leverage to ensure that we draw those teachers -- and school districts -- most serious about adding computation into their middle- or high-school curricula at the prerequisite-free level that characterizes MyCS.

It is at the heart of our mission as a college and the priorities of our department to reach students poorly represented in STEM fields and CS in particular. Led by Christine Alvarado, the past four years have seen a shift in our CS majors from less than 10% women to over 40% women. Part of what makes the nationwide demographic proportions so unbalanced is that there is no true CS exposure before college. We believe middle school is a crucial time for exposure to the field because it merges the growing ability to handle abstraction with central stages of identity formation. Our goal is to excite students about computation before they have been convinced that it is not something people like them do. Claremont’s middle and high schools do not look so different from many suburban districts across the US: 10% Asian, 10% African-American, 35% Latino, and 45% white. Pomona’s district represents a demographic mix that is increasing throughout the US: 80% Latino, 10% Asian, and 10% other. Finally, our collaboration with Lihue’s middle school reaches a larger indigenous population than either of the California districts. We look forward to learning from our collaborating teachers how we can best tailor pedagogy, curricular materials, and topic selection in order to reach students from all of the backgrounds we serve.

Please include plans for follow-up and/or continued learning for the participants.

All of our partnering institutions have existing, required courses with a technological theme. Yet those courses uniformly emphasize task-specific skills, e.g., keyboarding or Microsoft Office’s many features, without presenting the computational ideas that underlie such tasks. MyCS is a departure from such courses and distinguishes itself by introducing important ideas from computer science per se. These ideas are presented in modules such that teachers have ample flexibility to adapt them to local conditions. These MyCS modules will

  • - present fundamental CS ideas naturally within existing course frameworks, as well as within a newly created MyCS course.
  • - create classroom demonstrations, in-class activities, stand-alone modules, and interactive webpages for at-home practice, all of which motivate and highlight those fundamental CS ideas.
  • - deploy and assess the developed materials in test sessions with middle-school students and in an interactive workshop with middle-school teachers.

These objectives will require continued learning and follow-up support. Those ongoing efforts will happen through at least these four channels:

  • - [Support for teachers deploying materials] The HMC CS department will fund at least two students through the fall 2011 and spring 2012 terms to be available by email to the teachers deploying MyCS, either as a whole or in small pieces, to help with technical problems, questions, or other concerns that arise. We will strive to hire two of the four students who supported the workshop over the summer: that way, the teachers and students will already have a personal connection on which to build. Modeled on our successful email-based scaffolding used by our own CS courses, this resource will help keep students, faculty, and teachers informed of each other's work throughout the subsequent academic year. Teachers will be as welcome as student to take advantage of Harvey Mudd College’s homework hotline, described in more detail in the next section.
  • - [Support for students taking MyCS] During the academic year, Harvey Mudd College staffs a nightly "homework hotline" by which students answer questions and provide help for any math and science topics. The service is supported by external funding and is advertised to students throughout the Inland Empire. Because every HMC student takes CS1 in their first semester, we will use the HMC Homework hotline to support MyCS's students, just as it supports other technical subjects in our region's school districts.
  • - [Monthly debriefing meetings] In both the fall and spring terms will schedule a Saturday meeting for teachers deploying MyCS-based courses through the fall and spring terms. Although we realize that not every teacher will be able to make every meeting, we will seek to meet with each teacher at least once in the fall and once in the spring term. These meetings will be invaluable to us as feedback for what works -- and what doesn't -- in conveying CS ideas at the middle-school and early high-school level. In addition, we will provide guidance and support for the MyCS materials, as needed by the teachers.
  • - [Reunion at 2012's MyCS workshop] Lastly, we will invite all of the summer 2011 MyCS workshop participants to the opening day of 2012's MyCS workshop, which we hope our proposal to the NSF will make possible. This reunion will not only serve as a debriefing on our pilot offerings, but it will help connect alums of the MyCS workshop connect to newcomers who want to try the materials in their own classrooms.</ li>

Do you have proposed dates for a workshop/program launch in 2011?

July 25-29, 2011

Total Funds Requested


Please include all names and contact information of the faculty that will be participating in your workshop/program.

The two faculty who will design, deploy, and assess the CS4HS workshop are Michael Erlinger, Chair, HMC Computer Science Department ( and CS Professor Zach Dodds ( Please see our full list above.
What are the specific goals for you 2011 CS4HS workshop/program?     We seek to offer pre-service to teachers who will deploy MyCS in 2011-2012. Please see our complete answer in the first text field.
Who is your target audience and what is your recruiting strategy?     Our target audience is middle-school (and high-school) teachers who already teach technology - or science - and want to expand the computation they convey. We already have deep enough partnerships to fill the workshop.

How many teachers are you hoping will participate in your workshop/program?

We are hoping that 12 teachers will participate and that, as a result, at least four public schools will add a MyCS course to their formal programs of study. Our groundwork has made this feasible with the training that Google's CS4HS would provide.

Please include plans for follow-up and/or continued learning for the participants.

Briefly, we plan to support the teachers with HMC students, the students with our existing HMC homework hotline, and the program with interim meetings and a 2012 reunion. Please see our complete answer in the first text field and support document.
Do you have proposed dates for a workshop/program launch in 2011? If so, please enter here.
July 25-29, 2011
Do you have any specific asks of Google?
Thank you for the opportunity to propose this project!