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The College of St. Scholastica

Mission and Background

National Center for Computer Science Education logoThe National Center for Computer Science Education is a partnership of the Computer Information Systems (CIS) department and the School of Education. The Center champions, researches, and provides equitable computer science education opportunities for K16 students and educators.

The National Center for Computer Science Education serves as a national leader for education and research at a critical time when there is significant momentum through the CSforAll movement. CSS is one of less than 10 schools in the country that have both pre- and in-service teacher education in Computer Science and is considered an expert in online computer science (CS) professional development.

What Does CSforAll Mean to Us?

Equitable participation means that all students have access to high quality opportunities in computer science. This includes students typically underrepresented in CS: females, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, English learners, and students with disabilities. It also means that early exposure to CS experiences is integrated as a part of the required curriculum for all students and not just an optional class or afterschool activity. For those students who want to explore CS in more depth, having additional courses available at the secondary level that are open to all students is essential. Understanding computing and its impacts on our society is a foundational skill for students (and teachers) to succeed in the 21st century. Our programs help prepare educators to teach all students computer science.

What is Computer Science (CS)?

For years, schools have emphasized the importance of students learning to use technology. However, this often means a focus on helping students consume technology, using computers, apps, and the Internet. By learning about computer science, students are empowered to become creators of technology, playing an active role in developing the next generation of technology while applying deeper critical thinking skills to existing technology.

The K12 CS Framework and CSTA K12 Standards use the following definition: the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their [implementation], and their impact on society” (Tucker et. al, 2003, p. 6).

Conferences, Programs and Staff

Graduate Credit for CS Conferences

K-12 educators who attend a computer science education conference such as  the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Annual Conference or Infosys Pathfinders Institute may be able to earn graduate credit through the College of St. Scholastica. Graduate credits are available at a rate of $150 per credit. The number of credits depends on the total hours of the conference.  Educators will need to complete a non-degree seeking application to the college, including official transcripts demonstrating completion of a bachelor’s degree. There is no fee to apply.

The graduate course will be offered on a pass/fail basis with an option to earn a letter grade available by request. Educators will need to submit proof of attendance (issued by the conference organizer) as part of the course in addition to assignments such as a conference reflection, professional learning goals, lesson plan design, etc. More details about assignments are included in the course syllabus.

Course Details

EDU 5750: CS Professional Learning
Credits: 1 to 3
Pre-requisites: Bachelor’s Degree
Course Syllabus Template (may vary slightly with each offering)
Course Outcomes are aligned with the CSTA Standards for CS Teachers:

  1. CS Knowledge and Skills: Demonstrates and continuously develops thorough knowledge of CS content, demonstrating proficiency of CS concepts and practices.
  2. Equity and Inclusion: Proactively advocates for equity and inclusion in the CS classroom, working towards an intentional, equity-focused vision to improve access, engagement, and achievement for all of their students in CS.
  3. Professional Growth and Identity: Continuously develops their knowledge, practice, and professional identity by participating in the larger CS education community.
  4. Instructional Design: Designs learning experiences that engage students in problem solving and creative expression through CS, planning to meet the varied learning, cultural, linguistic, and motivational needs of individual students in order to build student self-efficacy and capacity in CS.
  5. Classroom Practice: Implements evidence-based pedagogy to facilitate meaningful experiences and produce empowered learners of CS to become a reflective classroom practitioner.

Getting Started

Participants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to earn credit. A minimum of 8 hours of conference attendance is a prerequisite to course enrollment. Participants will need to complete the free non-degree seeking application with The College of St. Scholastica. Select EDU 5750: CS Professional Learning as the course you wish to register for and include the number of credits (1, 2 or 3 credit options). You can also visit the National Center for Computer Science Education booth at the conference to pick up information on how to register. Katie Wayne, graduate admissions counselor, will be available to help answer questions and prompt you with next steps.

Credits Towards CSS Programs

Course Assignments and Deadlines

Please review the course syllabus. Details on the assignments required vary by credit (1 or 2 credits) and  the directions and grading rubric are available in the syllabus. Your instructor will provide information at the beginning of the course on how to submit assignments.  All assignments are due by the end of the term, however, it is suggested that educators submit assignments as they are completed. It is recommended that you start completing assignments by the end of the conference. Examples of assignments include:

  • Conference Proof of Attendance with a minimum of 8 hours
  • Reflection Paper
  • CS Teacher Self-Reflection and Learning Goals
  • Lesson Plan Design or Implementation
  • Classroom Observation
  • Curriculum Evaluation
  • Annotated Bibliography


The National Center for Computer Science Education provides support in creating equitable CS education opportunities to K16 educators and students through the following programs:

Certificate in Computer Science Education

An online graduate, education certificate for in-service teachers with four courses: Computational Thinking, Computer Science Principles, Java, and CS Methods & Capstone. K12 teachers across the United States complete the certificate to further their understanding of CS, to integrate CS in other courses, to teach standalone CS courses, and to meet CS licensure requirements for their state.

Mobile CSP

Mobile CSP logoCurriculum and professional development for high school teachers offering the new AP Computer Science Principles course. Mobile CSP is endorsed by the College Board.

CS Awesome (Computer Science A)

CSAwesome logoCurriculum and professional development for high school teachers offering the AP Computer Science A course. CS Awesome is being piloted in 2019-20 and will be open to all teachers.


TeachCS logoRevising pre-service education programs to include computational thinking and computer science to future educators.

Undergraduate CIS

Infusing best practices in pedagogy and support to recruit and retain underrepresented students in the Computer Information Systems major.

Minor in Computer Science Education (in progress)

An undergraduate minor designed for pre-service teachers, including CIS and EDU courses.

Minnesota ECEP Alliance (in progress)

The goal of the ECEP Alliance is to help states improve access to quality computing education and pursue systemic change at the state level that will result in more diverse students pursuing educational paths in computer science. NCCSE will coordinate ECEP efforts in Minnesota, beginning Fall 2018.


Interested in partnering with the NCCSE to bring CS education to your organization or in collaborating on a research project? Please contact us at


Cassandra Broneak, Research Associate

Cassandra BroneakCassandra Broneak currently works as one of the Center’s Research Associates and has worked with the Mobile CSP program for the past 3 years. She is is closely involved with all aspects of the project, including research and teacher enrollment, and works to support educators in bringing computer science opportunities to all students. She received her Bachelors’ Degree in Applied Social Science, Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and is currently working towards her Master’s of Education at the College of St. Scholastica. Her research interests include social and educational equity, social network analysis, environmental justice and in-service teacher programs.

Francisco Cervantes, Program Manager

Francisco Cervantes

Francisco Cervantes manages the K12 Computer Science Pathways Program, a three-year research-practice partnership funded by the National Science Foundation where the Center serves as the hub and Fond du Lac Ojibwe School and Hermantown Community Schools as network nodes. Francisco is focused on creating sustainable CS professional development programs for rural and tribal schools in order to meet the needs of and supporting underrepresented students in computing, in particular, low socioeconomic status, special education, and American Indian students. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California Santa Barbara and an M.A. in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from New York University. His research interests include assessing computational thinking skills, knowledge, abilities, as well as attitudes towards computer science and engineering professions.

Renee Fall, Senior Research Scholar

Renee Fall

Renee Fall has dedicated the past ten years to increasing diversity computing as a co-PI of the national Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance ( and as project manager of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (MA), both NSF-sponsored efforts to broaden participation in computing. She played a key role in bringing Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles to Massachusetts. Her career in higher education has included inter-institutional collaborations; women’s/gender studies, diversity, and equity; continuing and online education; grant development and publishing. She holds a masters degree from Harvard Divinity School and is pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education research, policy, and leadership at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Pauline Lake, Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator

Portrait of Pauline LakePauline Lake is the coordinator Mobile CSP curriculum and professional development. She assists the classroom teachers, helping with technical issues and with instruction. She is closely involved in all aspects of the project, including curriculum development and assessment. A 2013 graduate of Trinity College with a double major in Computer Science and Educational Studies, Pauline has taught App Inventor to middle- and high-school students since 2010. She has also taught the introductory Computing with Mobile Phones course at Trinity College and has served as a mentor for Computer Science students in various capacities. Pauline is pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy with a concentration in Educational Policy at Trinity College.

Chery Lucarelli, Facilitator of Educational Innovation

Portrait of Chery LucarelliProfessor and Chair of Graduate Education Programs, Dr. Lucarelli oversees several graduate education programs, including the nationally ranked online Master of Education program and the Graduate Teacher Licensure program at the College of St. Scholastica. Dr. Lucarelli is committed to supporting inclusive learning and work environments, believing they provide the best opportunity for innovation. Dr. Lucarelli is the PI on the TeachCS@CSS grant funded by Google and the Co-PI on a National Science Foundation CS10K grant to scale up CS teacher professional development by leveraging online communities of practice. She is an experienced K12 teacher and licensed school administrator. Her research interests include innovation in higher education, online learning, educational technology, teacher preparation and teacher professional development.

Jennifer Rosato, Director

Portrait of Jen RosatoJennifer Rosato leads programs at the Center, collaborating with staff and colleagues in the Schools of Business and Technology and Education. She has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from St. Scholastica and a Masters of Arts in Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She is committed to involving more women and underrepresented minorities in the CS field, especially young women in middle and high schools as well as supporting K-12 educators to integrate and offer computer science in their classroom. She directs and consults on multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, Google, and Infosys Foundation, USA as well as serves on the CSTA Board of Directors.

Alexis Wyss, Administrative Assistant

Alexis WyssAlexis Wyss is the Administrative Assistant for the National Center for Computer Science Education. She completed her B.S. in Biology and minoring in Environmental Science from Heidelberg University in ‘17 and is currently working on an M.Ed. in Secondary Education through Grand Canyon University. Alexis’ research interests include promoting inclusion, equity, and diversity in STEM classrooms. Over the past few years Alexis has gained experience as an intern at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in NC, was a science crew member for NOAA’s 2019 Spring Bottom Trawl Survey, and is currently working with the Great Lakes Aquarium here in Duluth as one of their Animal Ambassadors to promote science education.