There is a misconception that summers are all about rest and relaxation for educators, the reality is quite different. Summers, instead, are dedicated to restoring weary minds and bodies while simultaneously restocking educator toolkits. Summer professional development whether in-person or virtual is a perfect opportunity to gain the skills and insight needed to be best prepared for a successful school year.

Introduction

Despite the misconception that summers are all about rest and relaxation for educators, the reality is quite different. Summers, instead, are dedicated to restoring weary minds and bodies while simultaneously restocking educator toolkits. It is during this time many educators invest in professional development (PD) to ensure they enter the new school year with innovative practices and enhanced skills, ready to inspire and mold the young minds in their classrooms. In fact, it could be argued the mental “heavy lift” for teachers occurs mainly in the summer months as educators diligently work to master and integrate new knowledge and skills. 

As this summer comes to a close, I’d like to share some of the resources I’ve gathered to add to my educator toolkit while “powering up” with PD over the summer.

[Note: Some resources listed are only accessible to CSTA+ members. Ready to upgrade to CSTA+? Log in to your CSTA account and use the membership menu to upgrade.]

Power Up to Stay Ahead of the Curve:

Computer science is a rapidly evolving field. When you think you may have a solid grasp on what is the latest, a new trend emerges and things are swept away in its wave. This is one reason why PD is essential. While new programming languages may not emerge on a weekly basis, new ideas on how we use them and shortcuts to make teaching them to students more efficiently often do. 

Check out this list of innovative ways to enhance CS in your learning environment from other CSTA members so you can stay ahead of the curve: 

Article: Nurturing Young Minds with Robotics, Tonya Coats

Article: AI Meets the Science of Reading and Writing Skill Development, Michelle Magallanez

Presentation: PRIMM a structured approach to programming, Phil Bagge

CS Integration into Other Disciplines, Dr. DaQuan Bashir

Power Up for Expanding Networks

Sometimes as educators, it’s not what we know, but who we know that has done it before and can share with us their expertise and resources so we don’t have to begin at the starting line. Like in any professional setting, networking is key to reaching goals faster. Summer PD is never all work, but an opportunity to meet with colleagues and “conference buddies” to celebrate another successful school year and pass along resources to make the next year better. 

Check out this list of CS educator resources and networks right here in CSTA that can expand networks: 

Equity Fellow Flashtalk: Tony Coats, “From Solo to Squad”

Equity Fellow Flashtalk: Laura Ventura, “The ABC’s of Coaching”

CSTA Virtual Communities

More about CSTA Computer Science Honor Societies

Power Up for Increased Student Support & Engagement

Ultimately, summer PD should directly benefit classroom learners. Whether they are curious 2nd graders or inquisitive veteran computer science teachers, we aim to keep them engaged as they build skills that make them more successful in their pursuits. This also means providing them with the support they need to achieve success. By implementing innovative practices, focusing on equity-based pedagogical practices, and leveraging the latest tools and resources, we can create engaging learning experiences that inspire our students and empower them to succeed whether they are classroom learners or leaders.  

Check out this list of resources to boost student support and engagement from CSTA members: 

Article: Accessible Computer Science for Deaf Students with CSTA Equity Fellow Beth Kimball

Article: Championing Diversity in Tech: How to Empower Girls to Pursue Computer Science, Maria Camarena

Surviving or Thriving? Supporting Young Black Men in CS – Eric Foster, Leon Tynes and Dominick Sanders

Article: Advocating for Rural Students with CSTA Equity Fellow Jigar Patel

Article: Support Student Success and Engagement Through Small Changes, Lauren Berrios

Conclusion

The investment we make in summer PD allows us to stay ahead, expand our network, nurture our passion, and ultimately enhance student learning. Let us embrace the summer months as an opportunity to recharge, grow, and equip ourselves with the innovative practices and skills needed to inspire and mold the minds we are fortunate to teach.