To code or not to code

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Sophomore Marion Murphy, a student in the Computer Programming Seminar works on the Karel program using the website Code HS. Kristen Davis ’17

Convent of the Sacred Heart hopes to produce the next generation of computer programmers with the addition of two new computing courses to the curriculum this year. The courses provide students throughout the Upper School the opportunity to learn to code, debug and craft powerful programs.
After introducing AP Computer Science in the 2011-2012 school year, Sacred Heart is expanding its number of computer science classes. Joining other new courses in the 2014 curriculum, such as Nutritional Chemistry and the Brain, Computer Programming Seminar and Principles of Computing will teach students how to problem solve, think logically, and collaborate.

Sophomore Marion Murphy, a student in the Computer Programming Seminar works on the Karel program using the website Code HS.  Kristen Davis '17
Sophomore Marion Murphy, a student in the Computer Programming Seminar works on the Karel program using the website Code HS.
Kristen Davis ’17

Parent Mr. Joseph Keeney encouraged Sacred Heart to add these courses to the curriculum after his daughter, sophomore Clare Keeney, participated in Sacred Heart’s inaugural computer programming activity called the Hour of Code.
The Hour of Code, promoted by code.org as a part of Computer Science Education Week, took place last December. The purpose of the activity was to give students the opportunity to learn about the field and encourage them to pursue studies in computer science.
“Learning how to code is probably more important to a student’s future today than learning a foreign language,” Mr. Keeney said. “There is a shortage of programmers. Students should be spending time on sites like code.org and every middle and high school in America should require students to learn to code.” 
Although computer science is becoming an increasingly popular area of study, few high schools offer the subject to students. According to exploringcs.org,  just over 42,000 high schools in the United States offer computer science classes.
Sacred Heart students enthusiastically participated in new computing opportunities. For the 2014-2015 school year, 40 students enrolled in the new program.
“I feel appreciative that Sacred Heart has given us the opportunity to code because it is such an up and coming skill that is important for our future generation with all this new technology,” sophomore Marion Murphy said.
These classes, which are led by Mr. Karl Haeseler, Director of Educational Technology, and Mrs. Gail Casey, Assistant Head of Upper School, include students in grades ten through 12.
Mr. Haeseler hopes that students will continue to take advantage of these offerings and decide whether it will be something they want to pursue in the future.
“We hope students will know whether this is something that interests them beyond this introductory class.  If it does, we hope they consider taking AP Computer Science or Principles in CS as a follow-up,” Mr. Haeseler said.
Computer science is one of the fastest growing fields with job employment expected to reach 4.2 million by 2020, according to nationwells.com.
“Exposure to programming helps prepare students for the challenges they are likely to encounter in their future academic and professional pursuits,”  Mr. Haeseler said.
– Kristen Davis, Staff Writer