Computer Science A

Richard Kick

Richard Kick teaches math and computer science at Newbury Park High School. Rich earned a mathematics education degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a master’s degree in mathematics from Chicago State University. He taught Advanced Placement® (AP) computer science using Pascal beginning in the first year of AP computer science, followed by C++ and then Java. After working as a C++ programmer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Rich served as a College Board exam reader, table leader, question leader, and Computer Science Test Development Committee member. He is a former member of the APCS A and AB Development Committee, a five-time Computer Science Principles Pilot instructor, a former co-chair of the Computer Science Principles Development Committee, and a current teacher of APCSA and APCSP.

Course Description

This APSI is designed to provide opportunities to both new and experienced AP Computer Science A teachers for exploring the AP Computer Science curriculum (including the AP Labs), available online resource materials for teaching the APCS A course, effective teaching and assessment strategies, and the Java programming language. Workshop participants will become familiar with the Course and Exam Description (CED), the Big Ideas, Computational Thinking Practices (Skills), Learning Objectives, and Essential Knowledge statements associated with APCSA, The CED will be used throughout the APSI as a tool for effective planning and teaching of the APCSA course. The resources provided by the College Board site will be presented and discussed in the context of lesson creation, formative assessment, and student exam preparation. Online teaching tools and techniques will be demonstrated and discussed as course content is presented. Many ideas and techniques used to present materials in the APSI will reflect lessons that participants can immediately use in their own classroom. The topics of student recruitment, equity, access, and lesson scaffolding will also be presented and discussed. Former AP Computer Science Exam questions will be examined and past student responses will be scored in order to provide valuable insights into scoring rubrics and the requirements expected of students that intend to successfully complete the AP exam.


Four Day Course- July 12-15, 2021
Day 1 
  • Virtual Welcome and Introduction of the Participants and the Instructor. Introduction to Online Learning Tools – Features and Uses. Developing Protocols for the Use of Online Teaching Environments.
  • Sharing experiences teaching computer science using traditional techniques and online techniques. Sharing teacher priorities for the week.
  • The APCSA Course and Exam Description (CED). Teachers will discuss the CED, Big Ideas, Computational Thinking Practices, and Course Units.
  • Teaching Strategies (Traditional and Online) for Teaching Object Oriented Programming (OOP).
  • Programming Environments (Downloads and Online) for Creating Java Programs
  • Starting an APCSA Course – Resources, Recruitment, Equity, Journals, etc.


  • Types – Fundamental Data Types, User-defined Types, Objects, Declarations, Definitions (Initialization).
  • Control Structures – Conditionals, Iteration, Methods
  • Using BlueJ to Create Java Programs – Procedural and Object Oriented Examples
  • The String Class – Using Labs
Day 2 


  • Arrays – 1 Dimensional (1D)
  • Common Algorithms Associated with 1D Arrays
  • Traditional for Loops versus Enhanced for Loops
  • Problems Solving with 1D Arrays using Codingbat
  • Problems Solving with 1D Arrays using AP Classroom
Day 3


  • Arrays – 2 Dimensional (2D)
  • Comparing and Contrasting 1D Arrays and 2D Arrays
  • Problems Solving with 2D Arrays using Codingbat
  • Problem Solving with 2D Arrays using AP Classroom
Day 4