Coding Update – An Interview with Math Chair Josh Paris

Coding Update – An Interview with Math Chair Josh Paris

 

Last summer, the BHS Innovation Fund provided a grant to enable coding to become integrated into the 9th grade math and science curriculum. Josh Paris (JP) is the Math Department Chair who, along with Ed Wiser, Chair of the Science Department, and Britt Stevens, Chair of Career and Technology, supervised the initiative. Mr. Paris discusses what excites him about the Coding initiative and its impact on students:

Q: How did the Innovation Fund enable you to integrate Coding into the 9th grade curriculum?

JP: We have had two coding elective courses called Python and SNAP at BHS for several years but this is the first time it is being integrated into the 9th grade curriculum. The grant began last summer (2020) and it was a collaboration between the math, science, career and tech education departments. Teachers usually teach four courses but the grant gave course releases to Adam Fried and Christine Shen (both from the math department) and Tyler Brown (from the science department) to instead teach three classes. This – and the hiring of another teacher – enabled them to spend time collaborating and modifying the curriculum so that they could implement coding into the 9th grade math and science curriculum.

Q: Are you intending to integrate coding into the curriculum of the upper grades at some point?

JP: Yes, we started with 9th grade and then will move to the older grades in the following years, one year at a time.

Q: Why is it important to have coding as part of the curriculum?

JP: It is very important to have coding be accessible to everyone for so many reasons; not only is it the way of the future and opens a lot of career doors but it also helps enhance math deduction and reasoning skills. For instance, the same logic is applied in both coding and formal proof in geometry. Furthermore, giving all students access to coding is important for equity reasons since it has historically been a profession dominated by white males. By having equal access to coding beginning in 9th grade we are hoping that will change.

Q: Since coding is integrated into the math and science curriculum does it mean you need to be strong in those subjects to be good at coding?

JP: Motivation and hard work – like many things in life – are the keys to success with coding. Coding is something that draws upon and enhances many life skills and cuts through many disciplines, for that reason, students often find something about coding that “speaks” and appeals to them!

 

Read a full description of the grant here

2020-21 Grant Announcements: Nearly $250,000 Invested in New Programs

2020-21 Grant Announcements: Nearly $250,000 Invested in New Programs

COVID-19 Teaching and Learning Response Grant

$55,000 investment

The BHS Innovation Fund is excited to award a special COVID-19 Teaching and Learning Response Grant to Brookline High School educators in Summer 2020. Reacting with urgency to the unprecedented change in the educational environment due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Innovation Fund recently spearheaded an effort to offer new grant funding, outside of our annual budget, for targeted faculty summer workshops. Funding these workshops will provide more than 30 educators from 7 departments the opportunity to collaborate simultaneously to address academic skill gaps, assess remote learning, share best practices and build community for students for the 2020-21 school year.

 

COVID-19 Response Planning Grants

$5,500 investment

The BHS Innovation Fund has offered short-term Planning Grants to faculty members who want to initiate innovative standalone projects or explore an opportunity to develop a full course proposal in the upcoming year. As part of our COVID-19 response, we are supporting the following faculty projects:

  • Special Education Department (Faculty — Alissa Parker and Alexa Bader): Special Education in a Virtual World
  • Special Education Department (Faculty — Andrea Lynch, Brendan McCarthy, and Jim Henry): Online Virtual Learning Planning Grant For Transition Curriculum Using Signal Success
  • Performing Arts Department/Music (Faculty — Carolyn Castellano): Alumni/Professional Zoom Workshops in the Field of Music
  • Visual Arts Department (Faculty — Elizabeth Brennan, Donna Sartanowicz, and Lisa Francescon): Online Atelier
  • BHS Library (Faculty — Ann Collins, Bridget Knightly, Shelley Mains, and Maura McGill): Cybrary: Building a More Digitally Dynamic Library
  • Special Education Department/School-wide (Faculty — Matthew DeGrace): Remote Learning Example Catalog

New Grant: Coding @ BHS

$150,0000 investment over two years

This new, interdepartmental grant is a collaborative effort from the departments of Math, Science and Career and Technical Education that will offer coding experiences to all BHS students by embedding computer science (coding) curriculum into general math and science courses at the high school so that every student will graduate with a basic understanding of how to code through hands-on coding practice. The Innovation Fund is excited to support this grant because exposing all BHS students to coding will:

  • Begin to prepare all students who wish to pursue career opportunities in the computer science field;
  • Provide all students with coding knowledge and problem solving experiences that are applicable to a wide variety of career paths; and
  • Address systemic inequities that create roadblocks for students of color and young women to enter computer science fields.

The timing of this school-wide initiative is aligned with the current construction of the new STEM wing at BHS. Part of the work that faculty will do, in examining the existing BHS curricula across departments, will also determine how coding fits in with other STEM courses and learning opportunities for all students. Faculty leads will be: Tyler Wooley-Brown (Science/Physics), Adam Fried (Math) and Christine Shen (Math).

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Contact

  • bhsinnovationfund@psbma.org
  • 617-713-5201
  • 115 Greenough St Brookline, MA 02445

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