Art Lopez, a member of CCST’s California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC), was selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Women & Information Technology as one of the top 100 computer science educators in the US, and participated in a workshop to help launch Computer Science Education Week in Washington, D.C. on December 8 and 9.
“The event focused on the value of computer science education & curriculum for our children in public education,” said Lopez, who teaches computer science at Sweetwater High School in San Diego County. “The speeches were inspiring, and emphasized how important computing and computational thinking are for all children to learn.”
Speakers at the event included NSF Director and former CCST Council member France A. Córdova, along with John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Code.org, which works to expand participation in computer science.
The NSF has been working for years to broaden the participation of individuals in all fields of STEM, including computer science; since 2008 NSF has funded researchers to develop new curricula, with the initial goal of training 10,000 teachers to teach computer science in 10,000 schools across the nation. More recently NSF’s partners have agreed to expand this goal to include all U.S. schools.
“We must discover and deploy new methods of recruitment and retention to ensure that all students in schools across the country have access to the most advanced learning environments,” said Córdova at the workshop.
Art Lopez has long been an advocate of integrating computer science education as an integral component and requirement for students’ education at the elementary, middle school, high school, and postsecondary levels. He is currently one of the 50 nationally selected pilot instructors for the College Board’s proposed Advance Placement “Computer Science Principles” course, and is also currently working with the CE21/ComPASS group of San Diego County, including UCSD, SDSU, and the San Diego Super Computer Center.
“It was a great opportunity to connect with leaders and tell them about Cal TAC’s mission and what we are working to accomplish for STEM education in the state of California,” said Lopez. “We certainly have many challenges that we need to meet, but the dedication and passion of my colleagues really inspires and impacts students’ lives, and makes Cal TAC a special place to work for.”