Computer Science Professional Development for All

Coding ParticipantsThe KCI Computer Science PD program helps elementary, middle and early high school teachers in all subject areas gain computer science content knowledge and strengthen their coding skills.

About the Program

KCI has been offering computer science PD since early 2015. The following programs are available:

Computer Science Crash Course for Educators (4 or 5 day workshop)

Enjoy becoming a student again and fall in love with computer science! The Computer Science Crash Course will help you gain CS content knowledge and strengthen your coding skills in either Python or Scratch—you choose.

Led by current computer science teachers who will demonstrate best teaching practices based on many years of experience, this differentiated course uses a variety of leveled activities and coding challenge sets to encourage middle and early high school teachers (grades 5-9) in all subject areas to advance their own learning.

With K-12 CS standards-aligned lessons on algorithms, data, the Internet, and the impact of computing, you will discover that computer science is more than coding. You will also gain exposure to the many available tools and open curriculum resources that you can apply to your particular classroom needs.

Foothill college credit is available if needed for the course.

Scratch code displayed on laptop code displayed on laptop coding flowchart code file on laptop

Programming Tools used
  • Python
  • Scratch
  • micro:bit
Topics Include
  • Algorithms – use of unplugged exercises to develop algorithms to solve problems, as well as understand classic sorting algorithms.
  • Programming – use of differentiated coding challenge sets to help teachers at all levels strengthen their coding and debugging skills. Teachers choose between Python or Scratch.
  • Data – understand representations of data for text, images, etc., and use in programming projects. Learn about big data and how to access and analyze large data sets with Python code and/or spreadsheets.
  • Networks – use simulation exercises to understand key concepts about the Internet including IP addresses, TCP, DNS, etc.
  • Impact – use videos, discussions, and unplugged exercises to understand how computers are being used and changing society today.
  • Simulations – learn how simulations can be used, modified, or created to model the real world.
  • Physical Computing – learn about building and coding projects using the Micro:bit with blocks or Micropython
Next Course Date

Computer Science Crash course is available to all teachers in the US as part of the Infosys Pathfinders Institute July 15-20.

Teachers, please fill out the form to get more details on how to apply for this fully funded program.

Contact Information
For questions or more information on the course, contact .

The KCI Computer Science program has a STRONG record of success: 100 % of teachers who attended the KCI computer science workshops recommended them. Sample testimonials below show the positive review from teachers who have attended previous workshops.
Course participant group shot

“I significantly improved my coding skills and also learned a lot of basic things about computers and networks that seems useful as background knowledge.”

“I do a lot of PD through my school district, but this has been one of the best trainings I’ve done. Useful and inspiring.”

“I learned so much Python! I also learned a lot about my own personal learning style.”

“Your pace is perfect. You pack so much in a short amount of time. I always leave with too many ideas to try and so much more to research…it’s exactly what I want in a workshop. You’re very respectful of our time. You vary the types of activities and differentiate tasks so everyone is challenged and supported. Best workshop I’ve ever taken at Foothill!!”

“Gained a tremendous amount of confidence and excitement about Scratch and Microbit.”

“BEST WORKSHOP HANDS DOWN — my 6th year being a teacher and this is by far best ever (not just tech but in any content area!).”

“I learned that I am capable of coding myself. I learned that there is so much more to computer science than coding.”

“This course required me to go deeper into Scratch than I have ever been. It was wonderful to be a student searching for answers again. I also appreciated getting an introduction to CS standards.”

Integrating coding in the Middle School Classroom (one day workshop)

Are you interested in unlocking the mystery of how to include coding as part of your curriculum? Attend this workshop, which is specifically designed for middle school teachers of STEM classes.

Learn to code and help your students learn problem-solving and critical thinking skills by integrating coding in your classroom. In this hands-on class, you will discover the excitement of coding and learn basics of computer science.

Using free programming platforms like MIT’s StarLogo Nova, Khan Academy’s Processing.js and JavaScript, and MIT’s Scratch, teachers will work on coding projects that integrate into existing middle school Math and Science curriculum. No previous programming experience needed.

Programming Tools used
  • Scratch
  • StarLogo Nova
  • Processing.js / JavaScript
Topics Include
  • Making interdisciplinary connections to computer science in middle school
  • Understanding algorithms using unplugged activities
  • Learning to code using block-based languages like StarLogo Nova and Scratch, as well as text-based languages like Processing and JavaScript
  • Developing your own class projects based on your programming preferences and specific content/curriculum needs

Integrating coding in the K-5 Classroom (one day workshop)

Learn to code and integrate computer science projects in the K-5 curriculum. Help your students learn problem-solving and critical thinking skills by integrating coding in your K-5 classroom.

In this hands-on class, discover the excitement of creative coding and learn some basics of computer science. Using free programming languages like MIT’s Scratch as well as simple robots, teachers will work on projects that integrate into existing K-5 Math, Science, Art, History or Language Arts curriculum. No previous programming experience needed.

Programming Tools used
  • Scratch
Topics Include
  • Making interdisciplinary connections to of computer science in K-5
  • Understanding algorithms using unplugged activities
  • Learning to code using Scratch – building a variety of short projects with a focus on creativity
  • Focus on pedagogy – how to nurture collaboration and problem-solving in the classroom and make your classes fun and engaging for all students
  • Integration of code in all subject areas -develop your own class projects or use sample lessons from available curriculum

Computational Thinking (one day workshop)

The Computational Thinking (CT) workshop will help teachers learn CT, an approach to designing solutions using computer code. This hands-on workshop will prepare teachers to understand and get the most from any subsequent computer science or coding classes.

The workshop will focus on collaborative problem solving and communication of CT skills and the best practices to implement these in the classroom. No prior coding experience is needed.

Topics Include
  • What is CT and why is it important in any content area today?
  • Important components of CT – decomposing problems, finding patterns, abstraction, and developing algorithms using a variety of activities – both unplugged and on the computer. Based on time and teacher interest, this will include computer coding exercises, using MIT’s Scratch, Logo or Processing languages, experimentation on running and modifying simulations on StarLogo Nova, as well as the use of other computational tools like Desmos and Wolfram Alpha.
  • How CT applies in your content area, and work on a simple CT project to implement in the classroom.

Computer Science Team

Sheena Vaidyanathan (Program Director)

Sheena Vaidyanathan has been teaching computer science in California public schools for 8+ years and has extensive experience with K-8 curriculum development and professional development. Prior to her teaching career, Sheena worked in Silicon Valley’s technology industry. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science as well as a California Single Subject Teaching Credential in Math. She has presented at several conferences and writes articles on CS education. See more on her work at Computers for Creativity.

Chris Bell

Chris Bell is a Math and Computer Science teacher at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California. He is also a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for blended learning and technology integration. One of his ongoing goals is to provide all students an engaging Computer Science experience; hopefully, sparking a desire to explore more in the fields of Computer Science and Engineering. Chris has worked with local Colleges and Universities to provide teacher trainings on math, computer science, and educational technology instruction. Currently, he is dedicating a lot of thought towards the perfect recipe for homemade pasta, which he hopes to crack soon.

Jessica Hexsel

Jessica Hexsel has been teaching at Gunn High School for five years. She started by teaching Mathematics courses and quickly began teaching computer science courses. For the past two years, Jess has been teaching Functional and Object-Oriented Programming with Chris Bell, from whom she often steals materials…like this bio. She also teaches AP Computer Science Principles. Before moving to California and earning a teaching credential, Jessica worked in educational research at Carnegie Mellon University developing curriculum for web-based online tutors for middle-school mathematics.

Ann Greyson

Ann Greyson started her career as a software engineer at Apple. She currently chairs the Computer Science & Engineering Department at Castilleja School, an independent school for girls, and designs and teaches both computer science courses and integrated computer science projects in grades 6-12. Before teaching at Castilleja, she taught algebra and geometry in Redwood City and Burlingame public school districts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from UC Berkeley, and a California teaching credential.

Abigail Joseph

Abigail Joseph has an extensive career as an educator in the Bay Area. Her commitment to education began in the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) Center and classrooms at Cabrillo Community College and various technology and engineering after-school and summer programs. She has spent the past five years developing computer science programs at Bay Area schools and working as curriculum and technical volunteer for Black Girls Code. Abigail currently works part-time as Computer Science and Engineering Faculty at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, CA and is MIT Master Trainer for App Inventor. Additionally she, as a co-founder of edstoria, is developing programs for teachers to help them thrive, grow, and sustain themselves in and out of the classroom.. She holds a B.S.E in computer science from Princeton University and an M.S./Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California at Santa Cruz.