100 Things (and People, Places, etc.) for which I Am Thankful Today

  1. My life; being alive
  2. My wife Tomomi
  3. My 3 child wonderful children, Taka, Toshi, and Miyo
  4. My mother and step-dad, Cheryl and Hank
  5. My dad and step-mom, Robert and Cathy
  6. My sister and brother, Kristen and Andrew
  7. My grandparents: Alice and (the late) Fred; (the late) Mary Francis and (the late) Fred; also my “step-grandparents” Ruth and (the late) Janet
  8. That I got to meet all 4 of my great-grandmothers, a great-grandfather, and 1 great-great grandmother
  9. My aunt and uncle who were taken away way too soon: Nancy and Rick
  10. My aunts and uncles: Carolyn, Larry, Andi, and Joanne; my wonderful great-aunts too!
  11. My cousins: Kit, Kevin, Kelly, Katie, Chris L, Geoff, Chris U, and Ashley
  12. Distant relatives I’ve met through Ancestry.com
  13. My friends in Maine, and in particular Kennebunk/port and Portland
  14. My friends in Brooklyn/NYC
  15. My friends from Colby
  16. My friends in Hawai’i
  17. My friends I met working at TechKnowledge, Pandesic, BearingPoint, and Deloitte
  18. My great job at Relay and the entire Relay family
  19. Our wonderful co-op family: Emma, Paget, Peter, Bernice, and Marlene
  20. My many friends in Japan – met through my wife, as well as from AKP and JET
  21. Thanksgiving and recursiveness
  22. The opportunity to live and thrive in New York City, the greatest city in the world
  23. Snowboarding
  24. The wonderful families, teachers, and administrators at PS/MS 282 (cc 282pto)
  25. The amazing gym called CrossFit South Brooklyn and the community there 
  26. Running, especially with nyrr and the Prospect Park Track Club
  27. The NYC Tech, VC, and start-up community
  28. Gorilla Coffee
  29. Prospect Park
  30. cec13brooklyn and its leadership in making public schools in Brooklyn stronger
  31. Sugarloaf
  32. Brooklyn brownstones and the forethought to not tear them all down
  33. Freddie Hubbard
  34. Turney’s Duff’s success with this new book
  35. Conversations with David about politics and economics
  36. The 282 Royal Panthers chess team, its coach Stephen Colding, the leadership of parents such as Kimtoya Williams, and the generosity of folks like fred-wilson
  37. Kennebunk Beach
  38. An opportunity to serve our neighborhoods on Community Board 6 
  39. Digable Planets and early 90s Fort Greene style rap
  40. MVC web frameworks like Symfony and Rails
  41. The advocacy of people like Sarah Goodyear, Eric McClure, and Noel Hidalgo for bikes and other alternatives to cars
  42. Snowbird
  43. People with the balls to poach Alta
  44. My friend Mike Daisey and his art
  45. People who write e-mails only when need to, and when they do, keep them short
  46. Art Blakey
  47. That my buddy Morgan is living is dream, to teach kids the wonders of making their own films (via his own film “How to Make Movies at Home”)
  48. The little espresso / machiatto bar at Eataly
  49. John Coltrane
  50. My PR on the Clean yesterday and that I’m finally getting my legs and pelvis to do the work, not just my arms
  51. Kyoto
  52. Experiments and efforts to reform our health insurance system in the US
  53. Open-source software; Github
  54. Manhattanhedge, and that it happens twice a year
  55. the achievement of Laura Skladzinski – 100 marathons!
  56. Robert Pirsig
  57. The Allman Brothers
  58. The courage of the Millienial/Gen Y generation to ask “Why?”
  59. The Fender Stratocaster
  60. the TEALS program
  61. The Brooklyn style irony of #21 above
  62. the Q train
  63. That high schoolers today don’t wear acid washed jeans
  64. Tenrikyo and the Tenrikyo community
  65. Heroku
  66. People willing to question rabid consumerism
  67. The west side biking / jogging trail, especially at sunset
  68. Prog rock when it’s done right
  69. Beaver Creek
  70. My bike
  71. That most pizza places in NYC serve a damn good slice of pizza
  72. The great sumo basho of the 90s involving Akebono, Musashimaru, Takanohana, and Wakanohana
  73. Carl Sagan
  74. The political reforms in Burma/Myanmar
  75. The Boston Red Sox
  76. The NYC Marathon
  77. A good, high shine, shoe polish
  78. Half and half
  79. That I’m walking distance from a place that makes hand made pickles and another place that makes hand made mayonnaise
  80. My sons’s accomplishments at Chess Nationals: 6-1 (Taka), 5-2 (Toshi)
  81. That you’re thinking of doing a list of 100 things of your own for which you are thankful
  82. The NYFD, and fire fighters every where; the NYPD too
  83. George Harrison’s contributions to The Beatles
  84. The New England Patriots
  85. Our armed forces
  86. That my buddy Dave’s son Drew is on the up side of his battle with cancer
  87. Decent Christmas music
  88. The end of our kitchen and bathroom renovations
  89. The price of food in Flushing, Queens
  90. People committed to teaching kids to code
  91. Paris
  92. That working in the Flatiron promotes a better fashion sense 
  93. the island of Molokai
  94. Marvin Gaye
  95. The enduring hope that the NY Mets may field a decent team some time this century
  96. That Republicans like George H.W. Bush and Olympia Snowe still exist
  97. An improved Fran time
  98. Freddy’s finding a new home, and prospering in it.
  99. The connection between Hawaii steel guitar, country music, and Irish folk music
  100. You

Support the NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education #CSNYC

New York City VC and philanthropist Fred Wilson (Tumblrfred-wilson) has a post today on his blog about the new NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education (websitehttp://csnyc.org/) and the fund they have put together to support efforts to teach kids to code in school.

I am a huge proponent of what Fred, Evan, and CSNYC are up to. It’s critical that we expand programs that expose students – elementary, middle, and high school – to computer science and especially coding. Initially the fund will be focused on efforts to build in-school (i.e., during the school day) capacity, especially but not exclusively first at high schools. But there is wide recognition that an “all of the above” strategy that includes in-school-day, after-school, and weekend programs will be needed to reach as many students as possible while the process of truly integrating CS into the core academic curriculum and class day happens.

I am trying to do my small part by advocating for increased CS in the area of Brooklyn in which I live, through bodies on which I serve such as Community Board 6 and Community Education Council 13. As possible I’m trying to connect programs (and funding) with schools. I’m doing this work in part to address the first of several challenges (all surmountable) I see that must be overcome:

  1. Expanding CS into schools – especially local, neighborhood, district public schools – cannot be seen as something done only from “on high”. We need to actively engage communities, community groups, parents, neighborhood associations, BIDs, PTAs/PTOs, CECs, etc. to get them behind these efforts and hear from them ideas for engaging young people. The grassroots, “on the block” component of this is crucial.
  2. Funding – Fred, Evan and others are on this and there are other efforts also in the works. I strongly encourage you to contribute to the Crowdrise campaign for CSNYC. I’d also suggest there are other models to explore, especially with and through PTOs/PTAs and BIDs. E-mail me at runderwood5 (at) gmail.com if you’d like to brainstorm on this topic. (I am co-VP on our PTO at The #ParkSlope School PS/MS 282 so this topic is close to home)
  3. Teacher Training and Professional Development – To teach computer science at scale, we’ll need to train a lot of people to be able to teach CS in schools. This can take (at least) two forms – CS professionals who need to learn teaching skills, and teachers who need/want to learn CS. I hope to help here a bit in my day job capacity, but in the meantime we need an all hands on deck approach to getting interested people ready to teach CS.

Whether you are liberal or conservative, #OWS or TP, plutocrat or populist, it’s tough to argue the importance of teaching our kids how to code and computer science overall. As Mitch Resnick discusses in this video, learning to code is not just a narrow technical skill, but a form of digital literacy important to all sorts of endeavors, not just the “job” called “computer programmer.”

Let’s do this.