Santa Barbara High School Robotics Club Sweeps Regional Botball Tournament
Santa Barbara, CA – May 13, 2015
On Saturday, May 2, the Santa Barbara High School Robotics Club traveled to South Pasadena Middle School to participate in the Greater Los Angeles Regional Botball Tournament, a competition in which students write programs to control small robots in a competition. The robots are built using a variety of parts supplied by the competition organizers, including Lego bricks, metal segments and a programmable version of the popular “iRobot Roomba” vacuum.
This year, the Botball Board consisted of a variety of height- and color-based challenges. In order to score points, teams had to build robots capable of sorting pom poms by color, placing different items into an elevated bin and removing items from shelves, among other tasks.
At the regional competition, teams’ overall scores are determined by seeding rounds (teams run their robots alone on the board), double elimination rounds (teams run against other teams on the board), and documentation — all of which are equally weighted. The SBHS Robotics Club placed first in seeding rounds with an average score of 95.2, scoring the competition high score of 155, and placed fifth in double elimination rounds. Their perfect scores on all documentation assignments and on the on-site presentation also helped to increase their overall placing.
Composed of five seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen, the Robotics Club team met twice per week since early September, and met nearly every day for the two weeks leading up to the competition.
While the club is fairly small in comparison to other robotics and engineering groups, the vice president of the club, Catie Kerman, stated, “Our small size does keep us from being widely known, but it fosters a very close community. We strive to be all-inclusive. The best thing about the Robotics Club is that you can join in any grade level with no experience with robotics, by the end of the year have strong knowledge in mechanics, programming and an amazing set of friends.”
SBHS senior and president of the Robotics Club, Makala Hieshima, was thrilled with the team’s performance and said of the team: “I share with all of my fellow seniors a sense of overwhelming pride and confidence in the team’s future, as we leave the club in the hands of extremely capable, brilliant and passionate classmates.”
Graduating seniors from the club will be attending schools such as Carlton College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara, and majoring in mechanical engineering, computer science, physics and history. Many members of the Santa Barbara High School Robotics Club are students in the new SBHS Computer Science Academy, which encourages students to use their programming knowledge in the study of robotics.
The SBHS Robotics Club beat 25 other teams at the Los Angeles Regional Tournament. They will head to Albuquerque, N.M., in July for the national competition.
Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara High School Robotics Club.
— Felicia Kashevaroff is publicity chair for the Santa Barbara High School Computer Science Academy.
Santa Barbara High School Computer Science Academy recipient of $100,000 Mosher Foundation Grant
Santa Barbara, CA – April 27, 2015
Santa Barbara High School’s Computer Science Academy is delighted to announce that it has received a $100,000 grant from the Mosher Foundation, to be used for curriculum development.
The one-year-old SBHS CS Academy is paving the way for computer science (CS) education in California. It offers a range of innovative coursework for all students, from those who are interested in pursuing a career in computer science to those simply interested in gaining exposure to the world of CS that colors our everyday experiences.
Edward Birch, President and CEO of the Mosher Foundation notes, “We are pleased to support this exceptional initiative by the Computer Science Academy, which will bring coding and other essential learning opportunities to a greater number of high school students. The skill sets learned as part of this initiative are absolutely essential in today’s world.”
As an open academy, CS classes are available to all students at SBHS. Students are offered a variety of classes from AP Computer Science and Exploring Computer Science (an initiative of the National Science Foundation) to Computational Art and iOS Mobile Programming, which were developed specifically for the SBHS CS Academy.
Paul Muhl, CS Academy Director, plans to use the Mosher Foundation grant in part to develop a new math class to be offered the Fall of 2015: Pre-Calculus with Python. The grant will also allow the CS Academy to bring in outside experts for continuing curriculum development, such as Dr. Zoe Wood, a Professor of Computer Science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, who was instrumental in the development of the Computational Art class that was first taught this past year.
“We are honored and extremely grateful to receive this grant from the Mosher Foundation which will provide critical support for our fledgling Computer Science Academy. Thanks to this gift, students will now be learning to code though an expanding number of non-elective UC and graduation credit areas that were never available before,” said Muhl.
The Mosher Foundation supports educational programs that make a significant difference in the Santa Barbara community. “We commend SBHS staff, faculty, and volunteer parents for inspiring this program which will be motivational for many students and will truly make a difference,” said Suzanne Birch, Education Program Specialist with the Mosher Foundation.
Richard Johnston, Assistant Director of the CS Academy, has been a champion of bringing CS education to SBHS for years. He said, “This grant from the Mosher Foundation has given us an incredible opportunity to share our passion with more students. It will greatly enhance our ability to make computer science accessible to students from all walks of life–and to shape the future of education at Santa Barbara High School.”
SBHS CS Academy Publicity Chair
email@example.com, Phone: (805) 689-0846
Santa Barbara High’s Computer Science Academy is Breaking New Ground
Santa Barbara, CA – September 2, 2014
Great news from Santa Barbara High’s Computer Science Academy, according to Principal John Becchio, “We not only got all our Computer Science Academy courses University of California a-g approved but we might have the only computer science course in the nation approved for area “f” (fine arts). Computational art is the course and it was developed with one of our steering committee advisors, Zoe Wood, a computer science professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.” Following are the five UC-approved courses:
• “Computational Art,” approved for area ‘f’ – fine arts
• “Mobile Programming,” approved for area ‘g’ – elective
• “C Programming” (summer program), approved for area ‘g’ – elective
• “AP Computer Science,” approved for area ‘g’ – elective
• “Exploring Computer Science,” approved for area ‘g’ – elective
NOOZHAWK: Santa Barbara High School Students Lead Girls-Only Computer Science Camp
NOOZHAWK: Computer Science Academy Launching at Santa Barbara High School
SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT: Computer Science Academy Approved for Santa Barbara High School
KEYT: School Board Approves Computer Science Academy
NOOZHAWK: SBHS Initiates New Computer Science Program
New Computer Science Academy approved for Santa Barbara High School
Santa Barbara, CA – April 23, 2014
At its April 22 meeting, the Board of the Santa Barbara Unified School District approved a proposal to launch a new Computer Science Academy at Santa Barbara High school for the 2014-15 school year. The Academy will meet a growing need to expose students to computer science while they are in high school, as these skills have become increasingly important for all students in the 21st Century workforce, not just those aiming at STEM or careers in software engineering and design.
“The goal of the new CS Academy is to make computer science courses accessible to all students and also provide a pathway for students who are serious about computer science as a career” explained SBHS Principal John Becchio. The courses will be open to any student at the school, but there will also be a Master Program for students who want to develop a core competency by taking three or more years of CS while at SBHS. Computer science and related careers offer some of the highest paying jobs today, and the demand for employees is predicted to far outstrip the supply of qualified individuals.
The SBHS CS Academy will be led by Paul Muhl, who currently teaches AP Computer Science. Paul holds an engineering degree and Masters in Education from Stanford University. His experience includes 7 years as a teacher and 16 years as a software engineer, most recently at Toyon Research Corporation. He will be supported by calculus teacher Richard Johnston who will teach two sections of an introductory course, “Exploring Computer Science”, which was developed at UCLA in conjunction with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to stimulate interest in computer science.
The SBHS team will also introduce several innovative courses of their own design that make CS courses appealing for a broad range of students. For example, Muhl has been working with Cal Poly Computer Science professor Zoe Wood to develop an introductory course that combines fine art and programming. He will also offer an iOS mobile phone programming course in the fall and C Programming for Robotics this summer.
“Computer Science is the new core literacy of today” said Muhl. One of his biggest challenges will be to attract more females to computer science, and he hopes that that the new courses will help him achieve his goals. Muhl is also working with groups at the junior high and elementary schools to expose students to computer science at an earlier age. Two girls in his AP Computer Science course will be running a summer camp called “Dream It, Code It”, which is aimed at sparking interest in coding for middle school school girls.
Although computer science jobs are growing at twice the national average, only 10% of U.S. high schools offer CS programs, which means that only 2.4% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. Students who study CS in high school are far more likely to study CS in their post-secondary education.
More information about the program is available on the web site for the Santa Barbara High School Computer Science Academy at sbhscs.org.