TEACHER OF THE MONTH — Memorial’s Shalequa Landry applauded for expanding computer science knowledge (Video)

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Shalequa Landry already holds a number of titles related to her work as a computer science teacher at Memorial High School’s Career and Technical Education campus.

On Tuesday she added one more.

Landry was busy teaching a lesson in her classroom when several people walked in with the news she was chosen as Teacher of the Month, sponsored by Philpott Motors. The designation comes with a $500 gift card.

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Teaching students computer science brings the educator joy.

Landry said one of her goals when she first got to Memorial after teaching at a middle school was to start an introduction to computer science class.

Once she began working with the students she realized their initial work had been with vocabulary. Soon they were excited because they were actually going to start working with coding.

“I started doing research, going to webinars, joining cohorts with some of our neighboring districts in Houston, and they were talking about an (advanced placement) class,” Landry said.

So Landry got with one of the school counselors and the course was added.

Shalequa Landry holds the sign showing her new honor as Teacher of the Month. (Mary Meaux/The News)

“I started walking around recruiting and that’s when I thought about diversity,” she said. “I thought, ‘Hey, most males are enrolled. How can we get females enrolled in this class?’ So each year I kind of stop and say, ‘Hey, what are you interested in doing in the near future? Oh, computer science engineering? Well you need to check out my class. What’s your name, what’s your student ID?’”

And that’s how she started recruiting more females to the AP computer science class.

Earlier this year Landry earned the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles.

Teachers and schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP computer science courses.

More than 1,100 institutions achieved either 50 percent or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science exam takers meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population during the 2021-22 school year.

Her students already know the basics and are working on projects such as designing a dream home.

The students’ work is proudly displayed outside of the classroom in the hall where all can see it. They come into the class with ideas, which brings Landry joy and excitement.

“And from us being economically disadvantaged, most of them don’t have this at home or don’t have access to some of these resources. When they come to my class, it does nothing but bring me joy that I can actually give back to them,” she said. “I can give something back that they can actually use in the near future.”

There are also 3-D modeling and animation classes, which is where the students learn to draw blueprints from scratch.

“Originally when I first started the class we did images from the Internet. But even here, they did that from scratch,” she said. “They learned how to draw it and add in all of the figures for the bathroom and the architectural side of it. I have some kids that are interested in interior design, so they love it.”

Adrienne Lott, Port Arthur Independent School District media and communications specialist, said for her, this award is like a full circle.

“Ms. Landry is a 1992 graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School and she chose to come back to Port Arthur ISD to teach our kids. Some of them may be children of her classmates,” Lott said. “It’s special for her to come back and give back to the district that she grew up and she received her education from and she’s now educating others in the same school district.”

Landry was presented with the Teacher of the Month award by Philpott Motors General Manager Darin Granger, along with Port Arthur News Sales Consultant Candace Hemelt. They were joined by Lott and Assistant principal Trent Johnson.