Director’s Corner

Hello, CSA families and happy 2016-17 school year! We have had a busy and exciting start to the year and are already coming to the close of the first quarter.

  • Adams’s ECS classes are currently developing web pages for the businesses they have dreamed up.
  • ProCore has visited us twice to demonstrate what it means to be agile and keep the minimal value product in the forefront of product development for a customer.
  • Computational Art is just finishing programming digital art that mimics the design of Blexbolex and is also experimenting with pointillism, surrealism, and more to make digital art. What these kids can do with a basic character is really fun and exciting!
  • The AP CS classes are currently working on a series of labs that are based on conditionals and switch statements. These labs build the core knowledge needed to do well on the AP test as well as force students to really refine their problem solving skills as a programmer.
  • Mobile Programming is digging in deep on app development. If you know a student in Mobile, ask to see the tip calculator!
  • Last, but not least, Math 3/Pre-Calculus with Python just finished a lab that will allow them to graph any function on any graphing window.

While the classes are all deep into the learning of CS fundamentals, we have lots of exciting things happening outside the classroom.  Keep reading for more info on all of the exciting extra-curricular activities being offered.

Richard Johnston, SBHS CSA Director


Clubs are a big thing here at the CSA!  There is a place for your students to get involved.  The CSA has 4 student run clubs that will help pursue passions, help build college resumes, and build valuable experience that will help with finding internships and mentorship opportunities in the future.

Robotics Club – Meets Tuesday at Lunch and Wednesdays at 3:00

Beck Dehlsen, the club president, was part of our very successful Botball Team, last year. The team is hoping to improve their skills and reclaim the  #1 spot in the LA Region.  Last year the team took 3rd place.  Stop by room 26 and see the trophy in our trophy case; or better yet, stop by and see all the awards around the robotics lab in room 28! While you are there, say hello to our newest staff addition, Robotics Advisor, Garrett Tuck.  His love of robotics and commitment to his community makes him a natural advisor to this club and program.

Hacking Club – Meets Friday at Lunch

Byron Osborne, the club president, was one of the founding members of the club last year. Last year these ambitious students enrolled in two “Capture the Flag” Competitions with absolutely no experience.  In these competitions students try to decode messages, get into secure files, and find hidden messages in photos.  They did pretty well, finishing in the top third of competition in one of the contests.  With thousands of groups participating, this was quite an accomplishment.  Come learn to hack! Talk to Byron or Paul Muhl if you are interested in this experience.

Girls Who Code – TBD

Leah Makler and Leah Martin, the leadership of this club, have gotten involved with starting a community club that reaches out to students in 6-8th grade and begins showing them how to develop an app that has purpose and meaning.  The women and men in this club, go down to Girls Inc. on Monday afternoons and mentor these innovative young ladies and guide their discovery.  This is the second chapter of Girls Who Code in Santa Barbara that Caroline Harrah has helped to establish. The CSA is happy to have her aboard as an advisor of this group.

Game Development Club – Meets Tuesday at Lunch

Marshall Payatt, the club founder, came up with the idea of a group of students getting together to develop a computer game.  There are many interests in this emerging club; we look forward to them developing this program. As with all new clubs, we are currently looking for an advisor with more expertise than Richard Johnston, who has been facilitating the development of this club thus far.

Just like the academy, all CSA Clubs are open to every student at SBHS. We have an executive student council that oversees all 4 of these clubs and meets once a month.  This student council tries to keep their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the academy and searches for ways to make sure all students are engaged and have some way to pursue or develop their interests in computer science.  If you are interested in proposing a club, have an outreach idea, or just want to say thank you for all the opportunities here in the CSA, Gus Siegel is the student to talk to and can be found around campus or reached by contacting Richard Johnston who is advising this group.

You can get more information for each of these clubs, by emailing the CSA Director, Richard Johnston at and he will make sure to direct your correspondence to the appropriate club leaders and advisor.

FIELD TRIP: NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

The CSA is excited to expose students to leaders in the CS industry and technological research that is on the cutting edge.  This time students were able to tour NASA’s very own Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

JPL is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions. JPL helped open the Space Age by developing America’s first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to study all the planets in the solar system as well as asteroids, comets and Earth’s moon. In addition to its missions, JPL developed and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft. JPL’s intellectual environment and identity are profoundly shaped by its role as part of Caltech.

It was great to see and experience Caltech’s and JPL’s innovative researchers and technicians working together to shed new light on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.


The CSA Guest Speaker Series is back with a vengeance this school year! We have already had two great speakers.

We started the 2016-17 school year with Dr. Zoë Wood who discussed “Intelligent Shipwreck Mapping with AUV’s”.  Cal Poly’s portion of the project focused on the visualization aspects of the data gathered from the AUV and developing realistic visualizations of the wrecks on the underwater sea floor.  In addition to the amazing integration of technology, history, research, and art, Zoë took the time to discuss college options and college life.

In October, we welcomed Paul Berberian, CEO of Sphero, using our sponsors GoToMeeting software.  Paul showed off a few upcoming prototype toys that will hit the markets soon. Paul also took time to talk about how he worked his way into the tech field through entrepreneurship. Finally, he went into some detail about what he is looking for in a student today.  In this discussion Paul explained that the visualizations that Zoë was describing a month before are a big part of the future of computing.



Watch your mail for a letter for details on our biggest and most important fundraiser of the year.  Each year, we ask CSA Parents to support this incredible academy.  Every dollar makes a difference for our students and it’s easy to donate!  1. Go online to and click the “Support Us” tab to donate by Paypal or Credit Card with a monthly or one-time donation.  2. Send a check (address online)!  3. Or, of course, we always accept cash! All donations are completely voluntary and tax deductible.



The Santa Barbara Computer Science Academy is pleased to announce the continued support of a local corporate sponsor. Deckers has granted $7,500 in support to the Computer Science Academy. Thank you, Deckers!

A huge thank you also goes to Bengal Engineering for donating pizza for each of our speaker lunches – all year long!  What a generous, and delicious gift!!

Thank You to Our Parent Volunteers

Last but not least, I’d like to make a special shout out of appreciation to all the wonderful parent volunteers helping with the beyond-the-classroom activities you’ve just read about.

I would like to give special recognition and thanks to Alberto Gil and Eduardo Diaz for representing the CSA at Convivio, a Spanish speaking parent night, in September.

This is truly a community effort that wouldn’t happen without all of you! If you are interested in being part of this amazing team, email


HAPPY HOUR: Mix and Mingle at the SB Tennis Club

On November 9CSA Staff and Parents met at the SB Tennis Club for wine and appetizers to celebrate our Annual Fund kick off. Thanks to everyone who joined us. It was a great opportunity to unwind and get to know other parents in the academy. Thank you to the Foley family, for generously hosting this event!

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