Plainfield Celebrates Computer Pathways

Plainfield Celebrates Computer Pathways
Posted on 01/26/2023
Vivian LashCENTRAL VILLAGE - Plainfield is celebrating CSEdWeek December 5 - 11th, a “call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science (CS), advocate for equity, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners,” according to CSEdWeek is held annually to coincide with the December 9th birthday of Grace Hopper, the pioneering computer scientist who invented the first compiler and user-friendly programming language.

Grace Hopper’s legacy of innovation and inclusion lives on through Plainfield’s CSforALL Pathways. A popular App Creators for Android & iOS course adapted from Trinity College’s Mobile CSP curriculum welcomes all students, especially those with no prior coding experience. Student Angelina Giovanni developed an original mobile app for her mother’s chiropractic business; student Joe Morris developed his own Android Flappy Birds game; student Vivian Lash used MIT App Inventor to develop an art-bot that paints rainbow spirograph patterns.

A new Introduction to Data Science course adapted from Brown University’s Bootstrap curricula teaches students how to uncover secrets hidden within real-world datasets. Avid reader and aspiring author Angel Witsen-Diaz wrote a Pyret program to chart book publishing trends hidden within 5,000 reviews; gaming enthusiast Kameron Smith chose to extract insights from a dataset of 6,800 video games for his final project. PHS students Branden Emmons and Anna-Marie Gomez teamed up during the 2022 QSIDE High School Datathon for Justice; Anna-Marie also received an NCWIT AiC Rising Star Award—a first for Plainfield!

Other CSforAll opportunities at Plainfield High School include Coding Club, Introduction to Java Programming, AP Computer Science A, and AP Computer Science Principles (with a >92% pass rate on the AP Exam!). An AP CSA student with no prior coding experience shares, “This class is a friendly environment and I don't feel afraid to ask questions.” Java students recently developed their own Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms for an autonomous AI vs. AI Mancala Tournament. Third-place finisher Colin Williams reflects, “The part of the project that I enjoyed the most was the testing and tournament aspect … it showed how my hard work paid off.”

Lead CS Teacher Nicholas Bousquet recently proposed three new courses for 2023-24, including Introduction to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Bousquet and his PHS colleagues are also exploring transdisciplinary STEM + Computational Thinking opportunities like WPI’s BIO-CS Bridge curricula. Bousquet received the 2022 National NCWIT AiC Educator Award and the 2022 National CSTA Teaching Excellence Award in recognition for his dedication to growing equity in computing. For Bousquet, it’s all about empowering students to make personal, interest-driven connections with computer science: “YOUR Passions + CS = Impact!”

Plainfield’s CSforALL Team continues to expand PreK-12 CS-integration for all students in all schools. SHE teacher Bonnie Normandie’s first-grade students are piloting play-based problem solving with LEGO® Education SPIKE™ kits. After completing a summer MIT Master Maker Workshop, PCMS teacher Jim Tingle looks forward to integrating digital making with Arduinos into his middle school technology classes: “The long term goal would be to have students develop autonomous model cars that can self-drive with distance sensors, motors, and servos.”

In the last year, Plainfield’s CSforALL Team has made huge strides towards realizing their district vision: “We believe in CS because all students must be empowered to create technology in a personalized, interest-driven learning environment that grows engagement, persistence, problem solving, and marketable skill sets that open opportunities in an increasingly complex world.” Students and families can visit to learn more. Happy CSEdWeek!

Angelina Giovanni

Angelina Giovanni creates a mobile app for her parent’s business (LINK to original HD image)

Joe Morris

Joe Morris creates his own Flappy Birds app; the PHS CS Lab is now one of his favorite hangouts (LINK to original HD image) 

Vivian Lash
Vivian Lash develops their own rainbow spirograph app using MIT App Inventor and Logo (LINK to original HD image)

Mancala Madness
Winners of the PHS 2nd Annual Mancala Madness AI vs. AI Tournament: 3rd Place - Colin Williams (right), 2nd Place - Austin Jamrow (left), and 1st Place - Sage Quintin (center) (LINK to original HD image)

Nick Bousquet
Nicholas Bousquet receives the 2022 National CSTA Teaching Excellence Award from Infosys Executive Director Katherine Maloney (left), and CSTA Executive Director Jake Baskin (right) (LINK to original HD image)


“Computer Science drives so much of our society today. Innovation, discovery, even participation in politics is now computer science driven. When we grow our computer science programs, we grow our student’s ability to innovate and solve problems.”

— Paul M. Brenton, Superintendent

“Computer Science is a driving force of the next generation for our students not just within education, but within the workforce. In a vastly changing and evolving environment, computer science will become the glue that links our curriculums together. Computer Science will become a through-line that drives change and evolution within our school curriculum. As our computer science curriculums expand so do our opportunities and advantages to our students.”

—Scott Sugarman, Assistant Superintendent/Director of Talent and Instruction

“I came into computer science with preconceived notions that I wouldn't fit in because I was a girl who liked sports and had no coding or gaming experience before. But the truth is there isn't a mold of who computer scientists are and anyone can succeed in this space.”

—Hannah Irons, AP Computer Science A Student

“Everyone should take a CS class before they graduate. It's a great experience with flexible workloads and an amazing opportunity to learn something new. There are no requirements to get into CS, you don't have to be really smart nor fast, and I think more people should get into it.”

—Damien Logan, Intro to Programming, AP Computer Science A, and Coding Club Student

“Even for someone with no prior experience in coding, I was able to dive headfirst into this class and I am glad I didn't shy away from it. Although challenging, I feel like I am actually learning, understanding, and developing a passion for coding.”

—Quinn Hotchkiss, AP Computer Science A Student