Meet ADE Award Finalists: Chris Bartlo and Nick Nohner

By Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
February 1, 2016

This diligent teaching team is leading and developing computer science curriculum for high schools in Portland, OR. They teach Wilson High School Computer Science using flipped classrooms and differentiated instruction to 9th through 12th graders at Wilson High School.


Chris-Bartlo-_-Allen-Distinguished-Educators-(ADE)-Award-Finalist.jpgHi, my name is Chris Bartlo and I teach computer science at Wilson High School in Portland, Oregon. I honestly believe that having some basic programming exposure is an essential life skill in our day and age. If we are trying to prepare our students for the kinds of careers that are going to be out there in 5-10 years, we are increasingly seeing that the world is becoming more data-driven and analytical in every single field. So even if one of my students isn’t going to become a career programmer/engineer/analyst, they are going to have to interpret, present, use and communicate with these types of people and the better base they have the more successful they will be.

This is a field that has this wonderful combination of process-based thinking: logic, planning, organization and tremendous creativity. I can’t think of a single discipline that a student can pursue later in their life where these skills won’t benefit them in very concrete ways. Working with students is remarkably rewarding and I am thankful every day that I made the transition to the classroom. I strive to create an inclusive environment that puts students in charge of their own learning.

I am passionate about spreading computer science throughout the K-12 space. I work with, Oregon CSTA and numerous state and local initiatives to give young people more opportunities to code. Recently I’ve been involved with doing coding professional development for K-5 teachers and it has been amazing! In my spare time I collect degrees (I have two undergraduate and three masters across a wide range of subjects) and spend time with my wonderful family. In the summer you can find me on the river or at a music festival and in the winter you can find me on the slopes!


Nick-Nohner-_-Allen-Distinguished-Educators-(ADE)-Award-Finalist.jpgI began teaching 6 years ago and have only grown to love the profession more. Helping students believe and better themselves is very rewarding. Unlocking how to do this is difficult and constantly changing which it makes for an engaging career of careful reflection, collaboration and experimentation.

I have discovered that in Computer Science courses learning will only progress if students buy into the material as both worthwhile and engaging. To achieve this I believe in showing students early success and building upon that confidence to achieve tasks that are relevant to them. Further, I try to make my courses flexible enough so that students can still learn the same material, but choose the route of their learning. For each standard I have several options of games or problems that the students can make or solve. This “menu” of problems decreases frustration, allows natural differentiation, and has ultimately been one of the most effective tools in increasing student motivation and retention.

To keep that classroom relevant to the students I have to truly listen and take action on their feedback in terms of classroom activities and course content. This is difficult since the topics they are interested in could not be part of my background. This pushes me to model the behavior of a life long learning which is one of best traits I could wish to pass onto my students.

I went to college at Gonzaga University and have a Master’s in Incorporating Technology into High School Curriculums. I just moved to Portland from Maui and have enjoyed the transition, though it is understandably tough during the winter. I look forward to learning more  programming of hardware and would someday like to publish an app.

Meet the other finalists for the $25,000 Allen Distinguished Educators Award.

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