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School Board Notes 4/15/2021
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Leading the Way in Computer Science Education at Washington High School

 

 

Scientists and engineers from the Trusted Microelectronics Division at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane visited Washington High School on April 12-16, 2021 to guide the Project Lead the Way Computer Science classes in authentic projects customized for students. This is the culmination of a year-long collaboration with Washington HS Computer Science teacher Matt Riney to help his students learn technical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills and explore STEM career opportunities. 

Washington High School piloted the program, with NSWC Crane hoping to expand to other high schools in the future. Angela Mann, Engagement and Strategy Lead, stated their goal is to bring a workforce pipeline into NSWC Crane. “We want to give students a glimpse as to what we do so students will become excited about working at Crane.”

During the first day, Crane personnel spoke to the entire student population about their experience in the workplace. In addition to sharing their own educational backgrounds, they emphasized that it is possible to pursue a career in STEM while living close to home.  “We hope that the students also learn about Crane and what we are doing,” said Dr. Adam Duncan, Electrical Engineer. “There is a real shortage of engineers to solve the problems we are working with. We hope these students will be inspired to study STEM  in college, and come back and intern with us and even join our workforce.”

Throughout the week, scientists and engineers worked with students in small groups on projects designed to simulate real-world problems. Students worked on three separate projects simultaneously. 

Cybersecurity (SEC) students practiced being the “bad guys.” Learning how the enemy thinks helps students learn how to make their systems more secure. Students “hacked” into a Rocket Launch System and combed through code to identify the arm and launch codes of the rocket. The scientists and engineers from Crane developed a rocket launching system, so that if a student entered the correct code, the rocket would launch. The cybersecurity students then used their knowledge of being the “bad guys” to develop ideas to prevent unauthorized access of our systems and presented their ideas at the end of the project.

The entry level coding (Computer Science Essentials, or CSE) classes worked on a Protected Volume Control project, creating a secure, protected space. They learned about light sensors, conductive tracing sensors, and switches, and how to code these sensors so an alarm sounds when activated. Students then used engineering skills to create a protected volume by designing a box to hold secret information. They designed the box so if someone opens or cuts into their box, an alarm will sound. Students then traded boxes and tried their best to break in. At the conclusion of the week, students presented their designs and received input on what they learned and how they applied their knowledge.

 “I’ve enjoyed the class very much,” added senior Zachary Doolin. “I’ve really enjoyed the text-based coding. It was fun to build these protected volumes where an alarm goes off if you try to breach it.”

The AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) class worked with Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or FPGAs. FPGAs are microchips that are widely used in many electronic devices. Students learned how to operate and manipulate coded FPGAs by creating a version of the video game Pong. Students presented their changes and findings to the professionals at the end of the week.

“The week was good for both the students and their instructors from Crane,” said Riney. “I think by Friday they were all insanely proud of the results. Our AP class was mastering a project over FPGAs that is usually taught to upper-level college students. It was a great experience for the kids because of what they were exposed to and it sets them up for success.”

The enthusiasm of both the guest instructors and the students is something that has Riney hoping they can duplicate with future sessions like this one. “This week was so positive,” said Riney. “It was one of the best weeks of my teaching career. I am really grateful for this partnership with Crane. This was really exciting.”

“We launched our College & Career Academy to illustrate opportunities exactly like this,” said Steve Peterson, WHS Principal.  “We need a talent pool to fill local opportunities and attract new ones so our community will grow and thrive. We’ve had large scale collaborations with Daviess Community Hospital and now NSWC Crane, as well as a host of smaller community interactions. We want kids to see a future where they play a role and can understand the value of education.”

 

 

 

Washington Community Schools would like to thank the following individuals at NSWC Crane:

Brian Stuffle

Division Manager

Trusted Microelectronics Division 

 

Angela Mann

Engagement and Strategy Lead

Trusted Microelectronics Division

 

Dr. Stephen Howell - CSE Mentor

Chief Scientist

Trusted Microelectronics Division

(PhD is in Physics, Nanoscience Specialization) 

 

Alyssa Robertson

Hardware Cybersecurity Branch Manager

Trusted Microelectronics Division

 

Dr. Adam Duncan - AP CSP Mentor

Electrical Engineer

Trusted Microelectronics Division

(PhD is in Computer Engineering)

 

Dr. Austin Roach - SEC Mentor

Scientist

Trusted Microelectronics Division

(PhD is in Plasma Physics)

 

Tina Closser

STEM Coordinator

WestGate Academy

NSWC Crane

 

School Board Notes 4/15/2021

School Board Notes April 15, 2021

Information Report: 

Assistant Superintendent Kevin Frank presented information on Washington Community Schools Project Based Learning Initiative. PBL connects the standards to real world problem solving, making learning more relevant for students. Project based learning develops 21st century skills such as problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and the communication skills students need to be successful. 

Project Lead The Way Computer Science teacher Matt Riney presented to the board information regarding his collaboration with scientists at NSWC Crane. All this week representatives from the Trusted Microelectronics Division at NSWC Crane will be at Washington HS to help lead our Computer Science classes in authentic projects customized for our students at Washington HS. 

On Monday, these individuals talked to students about their experience in the workplace along with their educational background to ALL of our HS students who may be interested in pursuing a career in STEM.  

 

The panel consists of the following individuals:

 Dr. Adam Duncan

Electrical Engineer

Trusted Microelectronics Division

(PhD is in Computer Engineering)

 

Dr. Stephen Howell

Lead Scientist

Trusted Microelectronics Division

(PhD is in Physics, Nanoscience Specialization) 

 

Angela Mann

Engagement and Strategy Lead

Trusted Microelectronics Division

 

 Dr. Austin Roach

Scientist

Trusted Microelectronics Division

(PhD is in Plasma Physics)


Personnel:

 

Appointments:   

  •   Lisa Bouchie - HS Counseling Secretary (position change)

  •   Amanda McMillian - HS FACS Teacher

  •   Kelli Grissom - Bus Driver

  •   Austin Fox, Derek Rhoads, Dirk Rhoads, Eric Long - Baseball  Volunteer Coaches

  •   Pete Parsons - Boys Golf Volunteer Coach

  •   Makayla Kemmis - Softball JH Volunteer Coach

  •   Jeff Owens - Boys Track Volunteer Coach

  

                       

New Business:

      

  •  Dance Camp Trip Request- Charleston, IL June 15-18, 2021

  •  Boys Golf Overnight Trip Request - Kokomo, IN April 30-May 1, 2021

  • The Board accepted the recommendation of Sodexo as the food service vendor for the next five years.  

  • The Board approved the textbook adoption for the secondary level Sports Management class to be taught at WHS and the elementary, K-5 social studies program.

  • The Golden Pride Marching Band Indoor Percussion was awarded 3rd place in the state and will be awarded their medals this week. 

  • Hatchet Robotics at WHS is competing in the FIRST Robotics competition and won 6th place in the Accuracy Skill in their division of 30 teams from countries around the world.

  • Congratulations to the Lena Dunn Math Bowl team who placed 2nd in the state. The Math Bowl teams will meet with the school board virtually sometime in the future. 

  • Mr. Frank reported that Washington Community Schools IREAD scores were the highest they have been in the last 6 years, and the board commends the third grade teachers and students in our district for their hard work and dedication despite the challenges of the pandemic. 

     

Upcoming Meetings

Next regular meeting May 20, 2021, 7:00 pm, Central Office

 

computer science students working