The first formal training in computer programming in the Upper School is introduced in grade 9 where students are required to take a nine-week computer course. Students use IBM PCs in this course. They are introduced to the Internet and spreadsheets, as well as more advanced techniques in word processing. They are required to complete a paper in English or History using the word processor.
Computer Science courses are offered beginning in grade 10. Four one-semester courses are offered. Computer I is an introductory course in the Java programming language. Web Design is a course where students learn to build web pages. There is also an Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A course which requires knowledge of Java, and an Assembly Language Programming class. All computer science courses are electives.
The computer program in the Lower School promotes basic computer literacy, including keyboarding, printing, and maintaining hardware and software. The Lower School focuses on educational software that complements classroom curriculum and incorporates individual computer programming. Aspects include keyboard familiarity, storage and retrieval of student graphics and written materials, and printing of individual work. Students have access to the Lower School's 80 GB server to save creative computer designs, compositions, and programs.
Teachers have students use computers to complete assignments, do research projects, and enjoy special lessons such as creating PowerPoint presentations. The lessons include the use of educational software, electronic encyclopedias, CD-ROMs, and the Internet. All students in grades kindergarten through six have weekly computer periods. Teachers may sign up for additional time for special projects or research assignments. Each child works on his/her own computer.
Teachers also use the versatility of the computer to reinforce, maintain, and review topics covered in the classroom. Students are able to review basic arithmetic operations, subject-verb agreement, and geographic vocabulary to name a few examples. Many teachers use the computer to construct word searches, mazes, and crossword puzzles based on the unit's vocabulary.
The Lower School's computer center is equipped with special wiring and cabling for distance learning and telecommunication. In addition video conferencing capability is available. Students are able to access the Internet and communicate worldwide with schools and institutions such as NASA, the Smithsonian, and the San Diego Zoo. Every computer with Internet capability has software to block undesirable web sites.
The computer lab is equipped with 25 Apple iMac computers, one IBM Celeron computer, a color laser printer, a video/computer projector, a scanner, six digital cameras and a digital video camera. All computers have local-based hard drives with CD/DVD optical players and burners. Students are able to produce quality work and print color hard copies.
Students also have access to two mobile computer lab carts equipped with 24 iBook computers. These laptops have wireless connectivity to servers and the Internet anywhere in the Lower School, and are outfitted with local-based hard drives and CD/DVD combination players. Teachers may request a cart be moved to his/her classroom, or sign up for students to borrow the laptops during class time.