Computer Science: Designing Apps and Building Bravery

From transportation to fitness, photo-sharing and banking, there are thousands of apps designed to alleviate everyday tasks. As part of her Computer Science year-end project, Claire Lee, Grade 12, was challenged with the task of designing an app to help the Day School Office (DSO) determine which teachers are available to cover a class. Working closely with the DSO, Lee built Schools Out: an app that generates a listing of the top three teachers available to cover faculty members.

The extensive project spanned just under two months and the Grade 12 Computer Science students worked hard to build their apps, consulting each other along the way, and presented their ideas to a panel of clients on May 28. With a clever solution and well-thought-out algorithm, Schools Out came in first place and starting this fall, the app will be implemented in Havergal’s DSO.

Although Lee won the friendly competition, all of the students who participated gained valuable skills, including file input, algorithm design and data-collection and organization. “The project taught students that a career in the tech industry is more than just programming, it also focused on the importance of building a strong client relationship and project management skills,” says Computer Science Teacher Kyle Cardinale.

Interest in Havergal’s Computer Science program has piqued with more than double the number of students enrolled in Cardinale’s class for the upcoming 2018-19 school year. “For many Grade 12 students, taking a subject that they have never learned before can feel like a risk,” says Cardinale. For this reason, he often shows his students a TED Talk called Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection, by Reshma Saujani, the Founder of Girls Who Code. The talk provides a powerful message that encourages girls to take more risks, like learning how to program. “I urge my students to take the fearlessness they developed through Havergal’s Computer Science program and continue to try new things once they have graduated,” says Cardinale.

In addition to computer programming, there are a wide variety of careers available to students looking to pursue a career in the tech industry, including web and graphic design, film, software engineering, game design and virtual reality; the possibilities are limitless. “As the industry continues to grow and transform, so will our classes,” says Cardinale. Enhancements to Havergal’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) facilities, including an art and tech wing and the Makerspace in the Upper School, will reflect this growing industry and students’ increased interest in the Computer Science program.