BITS & BYTES
MAY 2021 | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 6
T H E O F F I C I A L N E W S L E T T E R O F B R B Y T E S
BATON ROUGE: BRINGING YOUTH TECHNOLOGY, EDUCATION, AND SUCCESS
Virtual 2021
Summer Training
Classroom Spotlight:
Tammy Washington
Classroom Spotlight:
Katy Ullrich
IN T H I S I S S U E
e 2020-21 school year was full of ob-
stacles, and yet BRBytes was able to achieve
success in expanding computer science edu-
cation in Louisiana.
Covid-19 brought virtual and hybrid
learning to K-12 classrooms, requiring
schools and teachers to develop new proce-
dures and strategies to educate their students.
e BRBytes program also adapted to provide
summer training for teachers in a completely
virtual format for the rst time ever. On top
of these challenges, many BRBytes teachers
were in their rst year of teaching an unfamil-
iar curriculum.
In the midst of learning how to adapt to
Goodbye 2020-21, Hello 2021-22!
BRBytes will be featured in the 2021 STEM for All Video Showcase funded by
the National Science Foundation. is annual online event will be held May 11-18,
2021. e theme for this year is: Covid, Equity & Social Justice.
Now in its seventh year, the annual showcase will feature over 250 innovative
projects aimed at improving Science, Math, Engineering and Computer Science
education, which have been funded by the National Science Foundation and other
federal agencies. During the eight day event, teachers, students, parents, research-
ers, practitioners, policy makers and members of the public are invited to view the
short three minute videos, discuss them with the presenters online and vote for
their favorites.
e BRBytes video features commentary from project leaders and teachers at
Louisiana State University and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. You can
support BRBytes by viewing our video and voting for it at https://stemforall2021.
vi deohall.com/presentations/2215. All project videos can be viewed at https://
stemforall2021.videohall.com/.
BRBytes to Participate in the 2021 STEM for All
Video Showcase: May 11-18
Visit https://st emforall2021.videohall.
com/presentation s/2215 to vote for our
video to win the public choice award!
see End of Year, page 3
Computer Science
Career of the Month:
Soware developers design and create computer programs.
ey test soware and write code. eir average salary rang-
es from $61,140 to $90,573, and jobs are expected to grow
by 22% by 2029. If you are interested in pursuing a career
in soware development, you should earn your bachelor’s
degree in soware development or a related eld, like com-
puter science or computer programming. You should also
gain experience through internships, earn industry-based
certications, and learn several computer languages.
Source: computerscience.org
Software Developer
web: brbytes.org
email: info@brbytes.org
partners & funding agencies:
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Summer training for new teachers and returning teachers adding a
new course to their BRBytes teaching repertoire will take place June 7
to July 9. Contact us at info@brbytes.org for more information.
We hope to see you there!
BRBytes is seeking collaboration with new teachers, schools, and
districts! If you know of anyone who may be interested, please send
their contact information to us at info@brbytes.org.
View our curriculum on our website! e BRBytes program
utilizes the open sourced curriculum from LSUs Computing
Pathway. We invite public comment and review.
BITS & BYTES | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 6
PAGE 2
Virtual 2021 Summer Training Institute
Due to the continued uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic, we will be offering this year’s summer training for the
LSU STEM Pathways in a virtual setting, with some required Saturday workshops this fall and next spring. Synchronous
online meetings will occur at different points each day between 8 AM - 1 PM and/or 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Group
synchronous time will be 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM each day. Assignments and asynchronous materials will be completed
between each synchronous online meeting. Courses available for graduate credit are denoted with a ✓
Session I: June 7 to June 22
12 Days: M 6/7 - F 6/11, M 6/14 - F 6/18, M 6/21 - T 6/22
Session II: June 23 to July 9
12 Days: W 6/23 - F 6/25, M 6/28- F 7/2, T 7/6- F 7/9
Cybersecurity (CYB)
AM Synchronous — No Prerequisites
Survey of Computer Science (SCS)
AM Synchronous — No Prerequisites
Interactive Computing (INCO)
PM Synchronous — Pilot
Prerequisite: Introduction to Computational inking
Introduction to Computational Thinking I (ICT)
AM Synchronous + Daily Homework — No Prerequisite
Introduction to Computational inking II Required
Introduction to Computational Thinking II (ICT)
AM Synchronous + Daily Homework
Prerequisite: Introduction to Computational inking I
Introduction to STEM Pathways and Careers (ISPC)
AM and PM Synchronous — No Prerequisites
Data Manipulation and Analysis (DMA)
AM Synchronous — Prerequisite: Introduction to Computational inking
Programming for STEM (PRG)
Available on request to teachers who have taught at least two of the following programming courses: ICT, DMA, INCO
TAMMY WASHINGTON | ISTROUMA MIDDLE MAGNET
COMPUTING EVERYWHERE & SURVEY OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
CLASSROOM SPOTLIGHT
Teaching students to teach themselves
is one of Tammy Washingtons favorite
things to do in her classes.
Washington teaches Computing Ev-
erywhere (CEW) and Survey of Com-
puter Science (SCS) at Istrouma Middle
Magnet School.
In SCS, she taught her students how to
nd the answers to their own questions
during a website coding activity. Wash-
ington said she created a skeleton pro-
gram for their websites. Students were
then able to look up HTML codes and
experiment by adding website features
and customizing the colors to make their
own unique websites.
“Instead of me just telling them, they
were actually working together and
learning on their own and learning at
their own pace,” Washington said.
Students were able to debug, change,
upgrade, and update their websites by
researching how to make the changes
themselves.
Washington tries to keep the class on
pace and working together so no one gets
too far behind.
“Heres what I tell the students who
are behind: ‘If youre always doing the
work thats behind you,” she said, “‘you
can never be with the class and you will
always be behind.
Because of this, when she is teaching,
students are expected to be doing the
assignment of the day. en, when they
nish, they can complete assignments
they might have fallen behind on.
Students falling behind or not under-
standing the material has been a partic-
ular challenge this year, with many of
Washingtons students learning virtually.
Teachers are used to being able to
go to a student and ask them ‘do you
understand?’ And they say ‘yeah,’ and
were used to seeing their moves and
their expressions to understand whether
or not they really understand,” she said.
“Even though they dont want to say they
dont understand, we can see that they
dont and then we know what to do from
t h e r e .”
However, with students not turning
on their cameras virtually, it can be hard
to tell who is actually understanding the
material.
Despite challenges like this, Washing-
ton has seen many of her students our-
ish in the BRBytes courses.
“I had this little young man [in CEW]
and I was just explaining Scratch to him,
he was just ‘Ms. Washington, can I do
the assignment now?’ I said, ‘Im trying
to show you how to do it.’ He said, ‘yeah,
okay, thank you, but can I do it now? I
know how to do it.’ And he just started
doing it… [he] was way ahead of every-
body,” she said.
at student stays ahead of the class
and writes his own code in his free time,
and he isnt the only one nding success
in these courses.
“I have a lot of students who are tak-
ing the course seriously and enjoying
and learning very much,” Washington
said. “I think we sometimes, as teachers,
we speak on what we need to correct be-
cause we gure if we correct the 5-10%
then it makes us have hundred percent,
but its good to hear about the 80-90%
that we know are doing outstanding.
is is Washingtons rst year teaching
BRBytes courses, and she is enjoying it.
“It’s a break for me from the tradition-
al career courses,” she said. “It touches
on so many dierent avenues, you know,
you have cybersecurity, you have pro-
gramming, writing programs, you touch
on so many dierent careers thats out-
side of the norm that we normally see as
teachers, and thats opened up avenues
for the students to see them as well.
BRBytes is making computing seem
relevant to her students, and Washington
said “when they see things as relevant,
you never know whos going to come out
as a shining star.
PAGE 3
new methods of teaching brought on
by Covid-19, hurricanes and ice storms
closed schools across the state, bringing
further complication to an already di-
cult school year.
Much has changed over the course of
the tumultuous 2020-21 school year, but
as we near the end of it, we want to thank
all BRBytes teachers for their adaptabil-
ity, determination, and resilience. It is
through their perseverance that we were
able to bring computer science education
to over 2,000 students this year.
BRBytes classes are now being taught
in 30 schools across 14 parishes, and we
are excited to be expanding to many new
schools and parishes for the 2021-22
school year.
Summer training for new teach-
ers and those wanting to add another
BRBytes course or two to their teaching
repertoire will be held June 7 to July 9,
2021. We hope to see you there!
from End of Year, page 1
KATY ULLRICH | LIBERTY HIGH
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL THINKING
CLASSROOM SPOTLIGHT
Anything that gets students excited
about programming is something Katy
Ullrich is into.
Ullrich is an Introduction to Com-
putational inking teacher at Liberty
High School. Over the past few years,
she has started and advised several
clubs, all with the goal of fostering stu-
dent interest in computing and grow-
ing the computer science program at
Liberty.
ough Covid has made it dicult
to lead clubs this year, Ullrich typical-
ly advises Girls Who Code, CyberPa-
triot, the Computer Science Honor
Society, and middle and high school
robotics teams.
“I think some people think, you
know, only nerds program, but actu-
ally its really fun and I want students
to know that it’s engaging too,” Ullrich
said.
Ullrich observed that most of her
classes are male-dominated. Because
of this, Girls Who Code provides “an
opportunity for girls to come together
with other girls that program and code
and make projects and have a club
thats just their own,” she said.
CyberPatriot is a national program
led by the Air Force Association that
focuses on cybersecurity and other
STEM disciplines. e JROTC pro-
gram at Liberty High has a team that
competes in the All Service Division
while Ullrich coaches the civilian team
in the Open Division.
Ullrich said Liberty is one of only
two Louisiana schools to have a Com-
puter Science Honor Society. is
group puts focus on both grades and
service.
e idea behind it is not only to
have good grades within computer
science, but to give back,” Ullrich said.
“What we wanted to do this year, which
we couldnt because of Covid, was go
into the elementary schools and code
with the little kids, the kindergartners,
the rst graders, and so thats what we
hope to do post-pandemic.
e honor society also hosts an in-
duction ceremony. Recently, eight new
students were inducted at Liberty.
rough her work to bring addi-
tional computer science opportunities
to the students at Liberty, Ullrich was
awarded with the National Center for
Women and Information Technology’s
Aspirations in Computing Louisiana
Educator Award in 2020.
“Ive really tried to make a con-
certed eort at recruiting women into
technology,” Ullrich said.
Last year, one of her students also
received an award from the same or-
ganization.
Before teaching computer science,
Ullrich earned her undergraduate de-
gree in business and spent 10 years in
the corporate world before transition-
ing into teaching. She began as a busi-
ness teacher, but her position evolved
when the school needed someone to
teach web design and then, eventually,
computer science.
Ullrichs approach to these new
subjects has been “I can gure out how
to do that” and because of this she is
completely self-taught and knows four
programming languages.
“It’s my favorite thing to teach,” she
said. “Its the only thing I really want
to teach.
Ullrich was one of the rst teach-
ers to pilot BRBytes courses at Liberty
High.
“I think the curriculum is phenom-
enal, and I tell my students all the time
how lucky they are to be at a school
that oers this curriculum because
theres nothing else like it being of-
fered, both statewide and nationally,
Ullrich said.
For students, taking BRBytes cours-
es is a step towards excitement and
engagement in computer science that
will help them succeed in the future.
“I have a lot of students that num-
ber one, realize that they’re really good
at it, and they may never have thought
that before,” Ullrich said. “And two, it
really sparks an interest in something
they enjoy, and if they hadn’t taken
the course, they may never have found
that passion.
PAGE 4