AP Computer Science A

Ria Galanos, AP Computer Science A Consultant

Ria Galanos began teaching AP Computer Science A in 2003 at Centennial High School in Roswell, GA and then moved to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA in 2012 where she taught Data Structures (the old AP Computer Science AB course), Android App Development, Artificial Intelligence, and a senior research course.  She sponsored both the Coding Lady Colonials (an all-girl computer science club) and HackTJ (the school’s 28 hour overnight hackathon). Ria is passionate about introducing young people to the field of computer science, teaching them how to program, showing them how to create something from nothing, and making them thirsty to learn more. She enjoys collaborating with and mentoring other teachers in order to improve student achievement and retention in computer science.  She is interested in finding ways to increase: the number of students who take computer science courses at the secondary level, the percentage of girls and under-represented minorities in those courses, and the number of students who pursue further study in the field. Her current areas of focus are building the confidence of females in computer science courses and creating interdisciplinary real-world computer science assignments that help make computing relevant and personal for all her students. To complement her classroom teaching, she served as a leader at the APCS A Exam Reading from 2007-19, was a member of the AP Computer Science A Development Committee from 2017-19, and served terms on the board of directors for the Computer Science Teachers Association and the National Consortium of Specialized STEM Schools.  As a workshop consultant for the College Board, Ria has trained hundreds of teachers preparing them to teach the AP Computer Science A course. In 2011, she received the Aspirations in Computing Educator Award sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology and Google for her support of young women’s participation in computing and technology. This past July, she left the classroom and began a software engineering role with Yext, a B2B company that integrates with hundreds of leading brands to keep their business information up to date everywhere it counts. Ria holds a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an MAEd in Secondary Mathematics Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and an advanced teaching diploma from Emory University. Twitter: @cscheerleader LinkedIn: riagalanos
About the Workshop: While I do like to leave some flexibility in the schedule in order to cater to participant requests, these are the things you can expect I will cover during our four days together:

  • Discussion on textbooks, equipment, IDEs, classroom layout, pre-packaged curriculum, extra practice resources, and grading
  • Deep dive into the Curriculum and Exam Description (CED)
  • Tips and tricks for using AP Classroom to raise the bar for all students
  • The development of at least one full unit together with time for you to customize the unit according to your needs
  • An overview of all of the College Board provided labs, with us actually going through and completing at least one from start to finish
  • At least one modeling of a lesson (most likely on the introduction of classes and object oriented programming)
  • Instructional strategies and tools from unplugged activities and warmups to autograders and everything in between
  • Mock scoring of at least one free response question
  • Ideas on how to increase the numbers of both females and underrepresented minorities in your classroom
  • And, my soapbox lecture about using real-data to motivate students even when working on trivial assignments.