Building a Culture of Computer Science and STEAM Learning

Computer science is part of a new digital literacy skill necessary for students in the 21st century. Moreover, higher education institutions continue to expand their computer science programs, and, therefore, in a tech savvy world, foundational skills and knowledge in computer science will be critical for students to be successful in higher education and life.
Casady's Class of 2017 reported 46% will pursue a STEM-related degree at colleges that include Stanford, Cornell, Duke, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of California-Berkeley.
 
Last fall, members of Casady's Computer Science Team developed the School's seven-year strategic curriculum plan after they collaborated and researched peer ISAS and NAIS schools, reviewed extensive articles, conducted online surveys within the Southwest Preparatory Conference, and interacted with computer science faculty at institutions of higher education like Stanford, Carnegie Mellon University, Olin College of Engineering, and Harvey Mudd College. They also interviewed experts in the field and visited successful programs.
 
Extending the collaboration and development of Casady's curriculum, members of an expanded Computer Science Team met last weekend for an all-day retreat to discuss strategy, structure and ways to influence our School culture in computer science, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning, Maker Education and digital literacy. Participants from across Casady's four divisions included Josh Bottomly, Eric Ebert, Dr. Jason Reich, Dr. Wes Fryer, Michaela Freeland, Sandy Craft, Dr. Glen Emerson, Aric Sappington, Shannon Semet, Heather Vick, and Steve Gooch.
 
The group identified five categories of recommendations:
  1. Involving more students in Computer Science and STEAM
  2. Involving more female students in Computer Science and STEAM
  3. Communicating and amplifying the work of the team and our students
  4. Promoting growth and learning in Computer Science and STEAM
  5. Developing the whole school Computer Science skills scaffolding
This retreat provided ideal opportunities for our faculty and staff to network, connect, and visualize together possibilities for computer science and STEM/STEAM learning at Casady School. Please listen to their PodCast and visit the Learning Showcase to learn more about the strategy and plans for Casady's all-school computer science curriculum.

Casady's Active Computer Science Curriculum
In 2016, Casady School offered a rare combination of 12 Advanced Placement and Post-Advanced courses in the STEM fields, including Stanford's Malone Schools Online Network (MSON) courses in Advanced Abstract Math, Organic Chemistry, Advanced Topics in Chemistry, and App Design and Development.
 
This year in Upper Division, the first year-long Pre-AP CS course on Object Oriented Programming is being offered while a robust Computer Science program is being developed to offer CS Foundations courses in topics ranging from Cybersecurity to Informatics. In addition, Dr. Reich is in the beta phase of launching the Independent School Computer Science Institute, and Casady's popular Upper Division STEM Club has participated in engineering competitions at OU and won numerous medals.
 
Casady has a robust Middle and Upper Division Science Olympiad team, which is a five-time state champion that represented the State of Oklahoma at the National Science Olympiad Competition the past five years.
 
In Casady's Lower Division, a new MakerSpace is being launched to include opportunities for STEM-related interdisciplinary projects. Students will learn to code video games and drones using MIT's Scratch program. In Middle Division, students are offered STEM courses including a course in Robotics and Turtle Minecraft.
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Casady School is an independent, co-educational, college preparatory, Episcopal day school serving students in pre-k-12. Educating Mind, Body, and Spirit.