Mount Carmel School’s 2017 Teacher of the Year and AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) teacher, Filmah Buenaflor (left), collaborates with another CSP teacher, Karen Envoy, in developing an Android app at the Mobile CSP Immersion Week held this past summer in Duluth, Minnesota.

LAUNCHING THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR: COLLEGE BOARD APPROVES NEW AP COMPUTER COURSE AT MOUNT CARMEL SCHOOL

Mount Carmel School’s 2017 Teacher of the Year and AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) teacher, Filmah Buenaflor, shares an Android app that she developed at the Mobile CSP Immersion Week held this past summer in Duluth, Minnesota.

This past summer, the College Board approved a new AP course at Mount Carmel School in Computer Science Principles (CSP). The course is not only one of the newest courses overseen by the College Board, but is also the first of its kind in the region, with Mount Carmel School being the only school in the Marianas currently authorized to offer it this coming school year.

Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, AP CSP introduces students to the foundational concepts of the field and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world. According to the College Board, “Whether it’s 3-D animation, engineering, music, app development, medicine, visual design, robotics, or political analysis, computer science is the engine that powers the technology, productivity, and innovation that drive the world.” The College Board added, “Computer science experience has become an imperative for today’s students and the workforce of tomorrow.” The College Board also noted that the launch of the course was the largest course launch in AP’s 60-year history.
To adequately prepare for the course, Mount Carmel School worked with the CNMI Public School System’s Federal Programs Office to enroll its 2017 Teacher of the Year, Filmah Buenaflor, in Mobile CSP, one of the nation’s leading programs in curriculum design and instructional methods for teaching the course. Endorsed by the College Board and open only to a few select instructor from across the nation, the program ran for four weeks this past summer and included a week-long immersion program in Duluth, Minnesota.
“The training was so intensive and rigorous because we needed to cover the whole curriculum,” said Buenaflor after returning from the immersion program. On the very first day of the immersion week, Buenaflor co-taught with a teacher from Wisconsin a demonstration lesson on Basic Internet Architecture and Packet Teaching using the Mobile CSP curriculum, all under the observation from master teachers from across the country. While the experience was challenging, Buenaflor and her co-teacher received high marks from the observing master teachers, who noted that they set the bar high for other teachers to follow.
“I learned a lot from the immersion,” said Buenaflor as she reflected on the experience. She added, “I met 36 different teachers coming from different states and from different places in Puerto Rico, and I saw their teaching styles and strategies in delivering lessons.”
“They can do more than just play games and use apps; they can create their own.”
Looking forward, Buenaflor hopes that students will become more than passive users of computer science. As she put it, “They can do more than just play games and use apps; they can create their own.”
High school students can sign up for Mount Carmel School’s AP CSP course during the school’s scheduling fair, which will be held on opening day of school, Thursday, August 10. For more information about the course or enrolling at the school, call 234-6184 or visit www.mountcarmelsaipan.com.

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