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Empowering Education with Cari Ann Brick: A Spotlight on Making CS Stick and

Headshot of Cari Ann Brick, a woman with long blonde hair and large blue framed glasses

Cari Ann Brick, a dedicated school media specialist at Conn Magnet Elementary School, in the Wake County Public School System, shares her enriching experience with the Friday Institute’s computer science focused program, Making CS Stick. This professional development opportunity not only enhanced her technical skills but also provided a platform for networking with professionals and educators in the computer science domain. Cari Ann emphasizes the program’s impact on skill development, networking, understanding best practices, adopting effective educational strategies and fostering personal growth.

Transformative Impact on Student Engagement

Implementing the strategies learned in Making CS Stick, Cari Ann observed a noticeable improvement in student engagement. By incorporating real-world examples and projects, the curriculum became more relevant and interactive, fostering a participatory learning environment. Diverse teaching methods and inclusive practices contributed to a classroom atmosphere accommodating various learning styles. Connecting CS concepts to real-world applications heightened students’ awareness of potential careers in the field.

Overcoming Challenges in Promoting Computer Science Education

Cari Ann discusses the challenges of promoting diversity and inclusion in computer science classrooms. Addressing disparities in demographic representation requires comprehensive strategies, including outreach programs, mentorship initiatives and curriculum adjustments. The key lies in a multifaceted approach, combining educational, organizational and advocacy efforts to create an environment conducive to thriving computer science education.

Crafting a Dynamic Educational Environment

At Conn Magnet Elementary, Cari Ann employs a dual approach to foster a dynamic educational environment. Robust community partnerships with local businesses and tech firms ensure access to vital resources and real-world learning opportunities. Featuring community members during entrepreneurial days provides students with valuable insights into various professions within technology and creativity.

Advice for Educators and Future Developments

Cari Ann emphasizes the importance of starting with small, manageable steps for educators new to computer science education. She envisions a robust virtual collaborative platform for educators to share resources, lesson plans and success stories, fostering a supportive community and providing space for ongoing professional development. Introducing advanced challenges and integrating training on artificial intelligence (AI) into the curriculum adds an exciting dimension to continuous growth.

Cari Ann Brick’s journey highlights the transformative power of professional development with Making CS Stick and As we celebrate Computer Science Education Week, let Cari Ann’s dedication inspire educators to take small steps, embrace challenges and foster dynamic learning environments.

Carrie Robledo PLLC Team Member
Carrie Robledo comes to the Friday Institute from a previous appointment as an Educator on Loan, split between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and Moore County Schools. At NCDPI, she served as an innovative learning catalyst, working with Digital Teaching and Learning as their Central Region coach and supporting teachers with implementing the NC Digital Learning Standards for Students and the NC Computer Science Standards. In her home district of Moore County, Carrie led the implementation of mCS (Moore Computer Science), a Digital Learning Initiative Grant for K-5 teachers. She was honored as NCTIES’ Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2020-2021, a Moore County Schools Teacher of the Year in 2019-2020 and was a 2018-2019 Kenan Fellow.