Board member Fletcher earns College Board honor

Longtime Pflugerville ISD Board member Dr. Carol Fletcher was recently honored with the AP (Advanced Placement) Award for Administrators at the College Board’s 2017 Regional Forum.

This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated significant positive impact on the AP program within their school or district; supports and promotes the professional development of teachers, counselors and AP coordinators; and participates and contributes to the Southwestern Regional and College Board forums, workshops, conferences and activities.

“Carol is known for her tireless and passionate efforts to promote academic excellence in PfISD, across the state and nation,” said PfISD Board President Vernagene Mott. “I have witnessed and actively supported her advocacy at all levels for computer science for all students. Computer science is a key component to many future and successful careers, particularly in this Austin area, where technology reigns.”

For Fletcher, opening and expanding pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-related fields, especially computer science, has been a lifelong passion, which is resulting in more opportunities for PfISD students.

“All of PfISD’s AP Computer Science teachers have participated in training through the WeTeach CS project at UT Austin’s Center for STEM Education. This includes the AP Computer Science Principles mini-conference, which prepares teachers to offer the brand new AP Computer Science Principles course. This course is specifically designed to broaden and diversify the kinds of students that take a computer science course. I think this really aligns with our overall district philosophy about AP being appropriate and accessible for every student, regardless of gender, ethnicity or family income.”

Fletcher is proud that PfISD is one of the few large districts in Texas to offer this course at every high school in the district during the course’s initial year of implementation.

“We actually just completed Year 2 of the AP Computer Science Principles mini-conference last month,” added Fletcher. “Teachers from all three PfISD high schools attended.”

These efforts are paying off for PfISD students, with overall participation in computer science course enrollments climbing 77 percent in the last four years – from 239 in 2012-13 to 424 in 2016-17. Likewise, student participation (number of students taking AP Computer Science) rose 50 percent since 2012, with 31 percent of AP test takers scoring of 3 or higher so far in 2016-17. This means not only a greater number of college-ready students in computer science, but a significant college tuition savings for AP participants.

“Dr. Fletcher is a great advocate for computer science for all students, not just in Pflugerville ISD, but across the state of Texas,” said Cheryle Hammick, computer science teacher at Connally High School in PfISD. “She consistently helps teachers gain access to information to help our students learn more about computer science. In the past five years her willingness to go the extra mile has doubled the courses in computer science that I teach at Connally.”

Fletcher has been elected to six terms on the PfISD Board, serving as president for five years. She began her career in education as a science teacher at Pflugerville Middle School where she was named PMS Teacher of the Year in 1994 and served as the first sponsor of a TAME (Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering) Club. In 1998 she completed her Ph.D. in science education. As a board member, she was personally instrumental in the creation of the Pflugerville Education Foundation, the establishment of Board Operating Procedures and Committees, securing $1 million in grant funding for PfISD new teacher mentoring, and legislative advocacy efforts.

She currently works as the deputy director of the Center for STEM Education at the University of Texas, where she manages the day-to-day operations of a statewide professional development program for science, math and technology teachers, serving over 9,000 educators from 800+ school districts annually. She is a state leader in improving access to computer science education and chaired the Texas Computer Science Education Task Force in 2014.