Computer Science Department to Be Cut for 2009-10 School Year

Computer+Science+Department+to+Be+Cut+for+2009-10+School+Year

Farrel Levenson ’11 and Suzanne Kleine ’11
Opinions Editor and Features Editor

ROBOTS FOR REAL
A student works on a computer project during class | Photo by Farrel Levenson '11

Budget changes, cuts, and restorations have been all over the news. Students recently rallied in front of town hall- Staples Players, Collab-supporters, and athletics were all represented. Over 150 people attended, but only one person spoke about the underrepresented computer classes being cut.

To be clear, the classes are not being cut because of budgetary reasons. Enrollment has been less than sufficient for Computer Problem Solving, Robotics, and many other computer science courses. As a result, the entire department is going to be cut for the 2009-10 school year.

Although this modern, newly renovated school boasts high-tech equipment-SMARTboards, and new Apple computers, among other pieces of technology, Staples isn’t going to help its students become more technologically literate any time soon. There still are classes such as Digital Darkroom, but skills gained from computer science courses, such as systems processing and advanced inquiry, will not be obtained.

Nevertheless, “The decision was a no-brainer given that I have a basket with so many teachers,” said Principal Dodig.

However, the computer science department has been widely popular among the students with an interest in technology and web programming. These students find their niche in this department, and these classes will be sorely missed the 2009-10 school year.

As noted by the computer science department head Rob Rogers, “It’s the one place they fit in- actors have players, singers have choir, and those kids who thrive in computer and technology don’t really have a place anymore.”

Rogers continues to add, “It’s tough…it’s a big loss for the school.”

The class teaches skills that are not available in other classes in Staples, such as systems processing, which Rogers says is “thinking about systems as a whole- if I do this, how will it impact that?”

Kevin Flinn ’10 notes that the computer science department “attracts a different crowd of Staples.”

“[It’s a] crowd that’s often overlooked because of sports and other activities,” adds Flinn.

 However, the class is not giving up.

Although Principal Dodig was instrumental in making the decision to cut the department, he wants it to be restored if possible. As a result, JJ Matthewson, a student who was enrolled in computer science courses, is now working closely with Principal Dodig about a possible continuation of classes for the 2010-11 school year. They are trying to develop a class that would allow students to further develop those 21st century skills that are so valued by Staples High School.

I am the number one advocate,” said Dodig.

Matthewson and Dodig are also trying to increase enrollment of the classes and attract students who may not have been initially interested in the computer courses.

The computer science kids’ goal is to make the class more accessible to the students who may not be as technologically advanced or motivated, but who are still interested in the more aesthetic parts of computer programming.   

“They’ve totally taken it on themselves, they’re pursuing the correct avenues,” said Rogers.