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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


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


Trusted Microelectronics Division

(PhD is in Plasma Physics)




  •   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


College & Career Academy Guest Speakers

The College & Career Academy at WHS would like to thank Jeremy Wagler and Michelle Ellis for coming in to speak with our junior and senior students on March 30, 2021.

Jeremy is the owner/operator of Wagler Competition Products and Wagler Motorsports Park. He told the students about how he came to be the owner of the two businesses and the connections he has made world-wide. Through his businesses, he has met and worked with several famous people such as Street Outlaws Farmtruck and Azn. He has also worked with other Discovery Channel personalities.

Michelle is the contact person for Turning Point Education Center (Open Arms). At the Education Center, students 18 and older can earn a certification in welding, CNC, CDL, C.N.A., or teaching assistant. The classes are free and are offered at different times of the day throughout the year. Students may pick up a brochure in the Guidance Office. 

"This is exactly the type of local opportunities our students need to be exposed to", says WHS Principal Steve Peterson. Peterson goes on to say, "Kids need to see there are multiple paths to success, and when you don't see something that fits, forge a new one". 

If you are a local business owner/operator/manager, and you would be willing to share your journey with our students, please contact WHS Principal Steve Peterson (812) 254-3860.


CCA guest speaker 3-2021



School Board Notes 2/18/2021

School Board Notes

February 18, 2021



Retirements:      Suzan Zipperle - HS Social Studies (end of school year)


Resignations:     Anthony Spinner- JH Boys Head Track Coach

  Lori Hancock - HS Head Girls Tennis

  Brian Hancock - HS Assistant Girls Tennis


Appointments:   Brian Hancock - HS Head Girls Tennis & JS Girls Tennis

  Lori Hancock - HS Assistant Girls Tennis

  Linda Taylor - Elementary Volleyball ( Veale)

  Kevin Godfrey - JH Assistant Girls Track

  Trey Miller - HS Boys Golf


New Business

The Board approved the Superintendent’s recommendation to advertise the RFP for the district’s food service contract as required every five years.


Information Items

Assistant Superintendent Kevin Frank and Lena Dunn Elementary Principal Jeanette Lobeck presented information to the board concerning the potential expansion of the Lena Dunn Preschool. 





Upcoming Meetings

  • Executive Session, 8:30 am, February 19, 2021.

  • Building visits: 9:00 am, February 26, 2021.

  • Next regular board meeting, 7:00 pm, March 18, 2021, at the Washington High School Cafeteria.



School Board Notes 1/21/2021



School Board Notes 

January 21st, 2021

Financial Report

Carrie Alford, Business Manager, gave an overview presentation explaining school finance and how it translates to Washington Community Schools. She highlighted the major fund categories and broke down revenue and expenditure percentages giving the board a working knowledge of the current financial situation of Washington Community Schools. 




  • Nancy Miller-North Elementary Secretary

  • Megan Riley-HS Assistant Boys Track


  • Whitney Albrecht-North Elementary Secretary

  • Anthony Spinner-HS Assistant Boys Track

  • McKenzie Norton - HS Assistant Girls Track

New Business

Sodexo Maintenance Contract Renewal

Rose Wilson, Director of Facilities Operations for WCS with Sodexo, as well as Jeff Butler, District Manager for Sodexo, gave a presentation highlighting the last five years of their accomplishments in their partnership between Sodexo and Washington Community Schools. The presentation included Employee retention, key projects, skilled labor, community service, safety, re-opening processes, and more. Following the presentation of five years in review, Wilson and Butler proposed an investment in Washington Community schools to include vehicles, parking lot repairs, and a UVC installation in the HVAC equipment in all WCS properties. Following the board presentation, the board voted to extend the contract with Sodexo for an additional five years, effective July 1st, 2021.

Upcoming Meetings

The next regular board meeting - February 18, 2021, 7:00 pm.



School Board Notes 1/14/2021


School Board Notes 

Reorganization Meeting January 14th, 2021

Election of Officers for 2021:

During Thursday’s Special Meeting, Randy Bouchie was re-elected Board President.  Serving as Board Vice President for 2021 will be Pam Barlett, and Steve Frette was elected Secretary. Randy Bouchie will also serve as President of the Board of Finance, and Steve Frette will also serve as Secretary of the Board of Finance.

New Members:

Washington Community Schools welcomes Tim Hedrick and Kyle Cornelius to be sworn in as the newest members of the board.  

Tim Hedrick graduated from Washington High School in 1983 and from the Vincennes University Robotics program in 1985. He has worked in industry and manufacturing for 28 years, performing skilled maintenance in controls, automation, and robotics. For the past seven years Tim has been an Instructor at Vincennes University and currently holds the Program Chair position for the Advanced Manufacturing and Automation Technology program.

Tim also serves on several advisory boards across the state for high school career centers and universities and has been active with the Chuck Harmon Little League Board for five years.

He and his wife, Donna Clark, have been married for 35 years and have two children, three grandchildren, and are expecting another grandchild in June.


Kyle Cornelius was born and raised in Daviess County to parents Kenny and Linda Cornelius. Kyle is a proud alumnus of Washington High School. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 2000 with a degree in elementary education and earned a master’s degree in education from Olivet Nazarene University in 2004.  Kyle taught 4th grade at Lena Dunn elementary for twelve years and coached various sports during those years. He started with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance in 2013.

Kyle is married to Megan Cornelius, who teaches at Griffith Elementary, and has two wonderful kids, Campbell age 11 and Cash age 8. He is looking forward to serving our students and community. 


The Board appointed Carrie Alford as the Corporation Treasurer, Andrea Martin 

as the Assistant Treasurer, and Superintendent as the district’s representative to

the Twin Rivers Vocational Co-op, Daviess/Martin Special Education Co-op, and

Educational Service Centers Risk Fund Trust.

Financial Report:

The Superintendent informed the Board that the interest income earned for 2020

was $77,352.96.  According to the recent DLGF 1782 Notice for Budget Year 2021 the district’s rate will be $.9223, down by $.9335 in 2020.

New Business:

FFCRA Resolution:  The district will extend the timeframe of December 31, 2020 for employees to use days related to Covid 19 absences through the end of the current school year.



Michelle Baxter- JH Social Studies Teacher



Sasha Larracuente-HS ELL Instructional Assistant


Upcoming Meetings:

Next regular board meeting January 21st at 7:00 pm.

Kyle Cornelius and Tim Hedrick



School Board Notes 12/17/2021


School Board Notes 

December 17th, 2020


The HS Athletic Department received a $10,000 donation from Kim, Karin and Kelly McBride in honor of the late Woody McBride, class of 1945.

Financial Report:

TAG (Teacher Appreciation Grant) Funds were issued to those certified employees who received an evaluation rating of Effective or Highly Effective based during the 2019-2020 school year on December 12, 2020.  Per state statute and board policy all public school districts receive these funds.  As you will recall, during the November 19th meeting certified employees that did not “fit” within the state’s definition of a teacher were also awarded the same amount, $753.89 for Highly Effective and $603.11 for an Effective rating from district funds.  These are the amounts awarded before expenses such as retirement and taxes are deducted.


Title I staff, Brenda Meredith and Rob McCormick from Griffith Elementary, and Janet Stuckey and Michelle Wade from Lena Dunn Elementary have risen to the challenge during this unusual school year, learning new methods for reaching out to students and families.  In spite of any trepidation that may have existed in the use of technology, our educators have set a standard for tackling new challenges and not looking back.


John Wilkins, HS Art Teacher retirement after 39.5 years of service.

New Business:

In anticipation of any potential funding delays, Washington Community Schools annually advertises for temporary loans in the amount of $4 million to be placed in specific funds.  Four local institutions provided bids in 2020.  The recommendation is to award First Financial Bank at 1.09%.

-SVB&T  1.875%

-ONB  1.94%

-German Am Bank  2.11% 


Permission to obtain quotes for the demolition of the funeral home property at 210 N. State Road 57.   This will become the future location of much needed parking.


Information Items:


All six of the schools within the district were awarded grants from the Indiana National Archery in the Schools Programs for kits that consist of 12 Genesis Bows, Arrow, Targets, Netting, Rack, Quivers, etc.  In addition, the funding provides the necessary training for four (4) instructors per building.  At a total cost of $19,800, Washington was able to bring this unique opportunity to our student population for the remaining amount of $3,000 that is being paid through our Foundation.  The initial trainings will begin in late January with implementation into the curriculum to be determined at a later time.  NASP Archery has a proven reputation for teaching students a new skill, but also self-discipline in a very structured environment.  Many schools have gone on to participate in local, regional, and state competitions as students hone their new found skills.



The new Hatchet ECA bus seats 46, A/C, custom design

The district’s Busing and Maintenance Facilities are housed on 2.33 acres with the current transportation fleet consisting of:

2 Athletic/ECA Buses 46 seat capacity

6 White Activity Buses

23 Conventional Yellow Buses, 17 which run double routes

*Beginning with the 21-22 school year the district will take operation of the remaining three routes that have been outsourced.


Vaccine Survey

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health are currently surveying all critical industries, including school corporations to gather the necessary data and potential ability to self-administer vaccines when available.  The district, including the Sp Ed Co-op teaching, non-certified, and office staff, as well as transportation, Sodexo, lay coaches, and subs total 460.  We did not distinguish between critical staff needed to maintain operations but placed employees within their job-related categories so that the DOH could determine how to best schedule.

Upcoming Meetings:

Reorganization Meeting January 14th at 5:00 pm. 

Next regular board meeting January 21st at 7:00 pm.