Philip Peavy, a computer science teacher at Paul Duke STEM High School, is a 2021 National NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Educator Award recipient.
The award identifies outstanding educators who play a pivotal role in encouraging high school students who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary to explore their interest in computing and technology. The award, which is sponsored by AT&T, also recognizes these educators for their efforts to promote gender equity in computing.
Peavy, who specializes in teaching cybersecurity and game design, is a strong advocate of making STEM and computer science opportunities available to all students, Gwinnett County Public Schools officials said. He expanded Paul Duke STEM High’s CyberPatriot club from having one female member to having two all-female competitive teams.
Realizing that high school cybersecurity programs are often restricted to top-achieving students (when they are available at all), Peavy developed a cybersecurity curriculum that is designed to be accessible for all students, school officials said.
They said Peavy uses a culturally responsive, project-based learning approach in his classes, in which students work on real problems that they want to fix in their community, and then present their findings. This helps students enjoy the process and want to keep learning, because, as Peavy says, “it applies to their lives.”
Peavy also is helping to expand access to computing programs for all learners by offering professional development for other teachers. He started a computer science certification preparation program which has helped more than 20 educators become computer science certified.
School officials said he also creates resources for teaching game design content and supports other teachers in helping their students become certified game developers. He has presented at several national conferences on how to create a cybersecurity pathway in any school or district.
“The biggest thing I have learned,” he said, “is to build relationships with the students and show students they can be successful.”