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Equity, Accessibility, and Computer Science

Thursday, June 16, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Equity, Accessibility, and Computer Science

Presented by Yusra Obaid, 6-12 STEM Instructional and Technology Curriculum Developer, Bellevue School District (WA); Fred Valdez, Teacher, Listowel District Secondary School, Ontario, Canada; and Megan Turner, Education Lead, Blackbird

Sponsored by Blackbird

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It is well known the significance of exposing students to STEM in order to prepare them to be active participants in the workforce of the future. Despite this theoretical understanding, students from diverse backgrounds, and those with diverse learning styles, are often excluded from access to strong STEM programming. This is especially the case when it relates to computer science (CS) education experiences. Access to CS experiences and programming education has traditionally been reserved for on-track students with flexible schedules who attend schools with elective or extracurricular CS offerings. If we want ALL of our students to be able to equitably access these opportunities, things must change.

In this edWebinar, you hear from Yusra Obaid and Fred Valdez, both experienced educators working with diverse student populations. You learn about the challenges they have faced in addressing the problem of equitable access to computer science education as well as solutions they have found to best support all learners.

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to K-12 teachers, school and district leaders, and education technology leaders.


Yusra ObaidAbout the Presenters

In her 14 years of being in education, Yusra Obaid’s focus and passion have always been about empowering and supporting students in developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, in order to surface the creativity and uniqueness of every student to shine and become creators of their future world. In the past five years of being in Bellevue, Yusra has focused on teaching and collaborating with curriculum innovators and teachers to create original and effective CS/STEM curriculum experiences for all students. She has integrated and supported teachers in middle school and high school in integrating computer science concepts in science classes in order to address the opportunity gaps that exist related to student race and gender and students with disabilities. Yusra strongly believes that by doing this work we will ensure more equitable opportunities for all our students in future STEM jobs.


Fred ValdezFred Valdez is a teacher in the CASE (Community-based Alternative Secondary Education) program at Listowel District Secondary School in Listowel, Ontario. As part of the Avon Maitland District School Board, they service a growing minority group of Low German-speaking students, homeschooled students and some Mennonite students. They have encouraged these families to try secondary education as a pathway to apprenticeships, post-secondary education and pathways to various workplace opportunities. To help students gain technical skills, Fred encourages STEAM projects in class and has used Blackbird coding with his students.


Megan TurnerMegan Turner, M.Ed. is a career educator with a passion for providing equitable access to education for students of all backgrounds. She received her B.A. in political science from University of Mount Union where she also studied education. She taught at the high school level in Chicago Public Schools for over seven years and was struck by the significant literacy needs of her students. As a result, she decided to pursue a Reading Specialist licensure and she earned her M.Ed. in reading from National Louis University. She later taught writing to elementary and middle school students at a school for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. While there, she co-authored a writing curriculum as well as a controlled text digital magazine for struggling readers. Her desire to see education and career opportunities made accessible to all students has led her to Blackbird where she is the education lead, connecting teachers and students to cross-curricular coding opportunities.


Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Computer Science & STEM Learning community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

BlackbirdCreated to bridge the gap between introductory game-based curriculum and advanced computer science, Blackbird is a turnkey cross-curricular coding education platform that makes it possible to teach coding equally to all students in core K-12 classes.



Thursday, June 16, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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