It's not just about the classes here at FSHA. In addition to a full slate of class offerings, including 24 Advanced Placement classes and electives that cover all disciplines, learning extends throughout and beyond the classroom.

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Computer Science & Engineering Courses

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Programming I

    Prerequisites: None

    Available to students in grades 9-12. This course is an important part of our 4-year STEAM plan. Incoming students interested in technology are encouraged to take this course.

    In this single semester class, students will learn about basic computer science concepts using drag and drop programming and beginning programming languages.  In this class, students will play coding games, make games, and create simple interactive projects while learning to think like a programmer. It is highly recommended for students without any programming experience. It is an option available to students who want to learn more about coding without committing to a full year course.  This course is an elective.  It does not fulfill UC academic requirements.
  • Programming II: Physical Computing and Robotics (Semester class, 2nd Semester only)

    Prerequisites: B or higher in Programming I or Principles of Engineering or equivalent experience

    Available to students in grades 9-12. This course is the perfect companion to Programming I.  All students with a strong interest in technology are encouraged to take this course.

    In this single semester class, students will transfer their knowledge of programming to a physical computing environment using Arduino microcontroller boards.  Students will collaborate to learn about electronics and apply their knowledge of programming to create projects and simple robots. This course is an elective. It does not fulfill UC academic requirements.
  • AP Computer Science Principles (full year)

    Prerequisites: None.  B+ or higher Programming I, Programming II, or previous programming experience is highly recommended.

    This course is available to students in 10-12 grade.  It is the perfect course for any student wanting to learn more about topics in computer science and to advance their programming skills.

    Computer science and computing technologies are everywhere and used in just about every imaginable occupation. This course investigates the “big ideas” found in our digital world such as the creativity in finding solutions to authentic problems, how data and information are used to forecast events and predict behaviors, and the global impacts of technology and the Internet. Students will create computer programs that serve useful functions, explore the different means of representing information digitally, and discover new knowledge through the use of large data sets. Students discuss the current state of technology and its role in our everyday lives and develop their skills in computational thinking, logical reasoning, and describing processes through algorithms. Finally, students demonstrate their learning by creating a portfolio for submission to the College Board and are prepared for the AP® Computer Science Principles exam in May.  This class meets UC “G” elective requirement.
  • Computer Science by Design (full year - online)

    Computer Science by Design: Mobile App Development (1st Semester only, online)

    Prerequisites: B+ or higher in Programming I, Programming II, or equivalent experience with department approval.

    This is an online course through One Schoolhouse’s Online School for Girls (OSG) Program.

    The market for apps is soaring. Apple’s App Store and Google Play global downloads reached nearly 26 billion and global mobile app revenue was estimated at $77 billion in 2017. Focusing on the software engineering process, students in this course will design, develop, prototype, and test a mobile app or game. Students apply the main principles, methodologies, and techniques of the software development lifecycle and learn how to conduct market research, explore conceptual design with wireframes, mockups and storyboards, prototype development, and software testing. By the end of Semester I, students will have a mobile app or game prototype that they can continue to develop further. Students wishing to pursue their design project in Semester II may enroll in the One Schoolhouse’s Research/Design Seminar.

    Computer Science by Design: Spring Design Seminar (2nd semester only, all genders, requires parental approval)
    Prerequisite: B or higher in Computer Science by Design: Mobile App Development; department approval; advisor approval.

    Offered to students in grades 10, 11, or 12.

    For students continuing into Semester II, the courses shift into personalized, project-based work where they engage in individual or collaborative projects. Using the knowledge and skills gained in Semester I as the foundation, students are guided through a self-designed, long-term research or design project on the topic of their choosing. In Semester II, students are expected to engage in deep, sustained inquiry, authentic and iterative research, critical analysis, and rigorous reflection, revision, and assessment. While they may choose to pursue individual study/self-assessment or collaborative seminar/peer-review; all students will have direct support of a teacher, who will guide their weekly work. Students will design a solution to a real-world problem. Through the engineering design process/scientific method, students will gather and analyze data to determine the effectiveness of their model or the accuracy of their hypothesis. Students may prototype and produce a public product in this seminar.  Upon completion of their inquiry-driven project, students will have gained academic maturity and expanded their ability to engage in a diverse and changing world. They will be able to draw and defend conclusions from theoretical underpinnings, contextual background, and mathematical analysis or source evaluation. Finally, they will have created and tested something useful of their own design or will be able to defend a position based on their own research.
  • AP Computer Science A (full year, online)

    Prerequisites: B or higher in Algebra II or Algebra II Honors AND an A in Programming I or a B in AP Computer Science Principles. Approval by Computer Science Department, math teacher, and Advisor also required.
    This is an online course through One Schoolhouse’s Online School for Girls (OSG) Program. It is approved by the College Board, NCAA, and UC Schools and meets the UC “G” Elective Requirement.

    The AP® Computer Science A course introduces the key concepts of programming in Java. The analytical, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills that students will develop in this course transfer to programming in other languages as well. This course is designed with the idea that programming should be fun, engaging, and intuitive. Students will learn to apply the main principles of object-oriented software design and programming using classes and objects, constructors, methods, instance and static variables, inheritance, class hierarchies, and polymorphism. Students work creatively and collaboratively with their classmates to discuss ethical and social issues relating to the use of technology and develop a solid foundation from which to launch into a wide range of computer science areas. This course prepares students for the AP® Computer Science A Exam in May.
  • Principles of Engineering (full year)

    Prerequisites: B+ in Algebra I/Geometry/Algebra II or B in Adv. Algebra I/Honors Geometry/Honors Algebra II; minimum 3.7 cumulative GPA or departmental approval; B+ in Biology recommended.

    This course is available to students in grades 10-12.
    Principles of Engineering is an introductory engineering course targeted to students interested in exploring technical careers. This is a year-long course which is intended to develop students' ability to think and act like engineers by applying math and science concepts in creative ways to solve real-world problems. It focuses on applying STEM principles to hands-on projects that are often done in teams. The course will utilize the engineering design thinking process, exposing students to the full range of engineering problem solving, including problem definition and setting criteria for success, brainstorming and idea creation, device/equipment development, data acquisition and analysis, solution analysis and development of an implementation plan.  This course meets the UC “G” Elective Requirement.
  • Honors Engineering for Social Good, SRP Seminar (full year)

    Prerequisites: A- or higher in Principles of Engineering or a full-year of computer science course required. A- or higher in Honors Chemistry recommended; A- or higher in either AP Biology or AP Environmental Science recommended; Minimum 4.0 cumulative GPA and department application and approval required.  

    Corequisite:  Honors Physics

    This course is only available to students in grade 12.

    Students in this project-based course will have the opportunity to utilize the Engineering Design Thinking process and apply it to a particular social justice problem. The ultimate goal of the course will be to present a prototype of an engineered solution (either a product or software app) to the selected problem. The first semester will focus on skills acquisition (prototype fabrication techniques, app development, engineering design process), topic exploration and selection, and literature reviews. The culmination of the first semester will be an original research proposal. In the second semester, students will utilize the learned skills to design and implement their original study, develop a prototype of their solution, and present their findings to the community.  This course will take the place of a senior student’s Senior Research Project. This course is UC approved and meets the “G” elective requirement.

Computer Science Awards

Juniors Win Pitch Competition at she leads Entrepreneurship Makeathon

Katrina Manaloto '20 and Meghan Sullivan '20 were selected as Pitch Competition winners at the she leads entrepreneurship makeathon hosted at the Snapchat headquarters in March 2019. During the two-day event, students "actively engaged in discussions with female entrepreneurs, participated in design thinking and ideation exercises, attended product development and marketing workshops, and got actionable guidance."

Pitch Competition winners “will be paired with a successful female founder to mentor and guide their ideas into reality. The pairs will work together over the following five months through our mentorship program at (free of cost). At the end of the five months, mentors will set up a pitch meeting between their student and an angel investor for a seamless transition to launch.”

Meghan Sullivan '20
In describing her pitch, she says "My project is an educational platform to encourage and inform teens to get involved in politics and social justice. We would have a website which I like to refer to as the 'Cliffnotes of politics'. The goal is to have a platform for teens to become informed about social justice issues and find a way to get involved in the issues they research and learn about."

Katrina Manaloto '20
At the makeathon, Katrina thought about the various problems she has encountered and would like to fix. Katrina was especially bothered by the lack of authentic teenage voices exploring political and social issues in the media. Describing her project, Katrina says, "To showcase the true opinion of teenagers about current issues as well as provide a platform purely made by teens, I came up with a website called Voice. Voice would provide curated pieces made directly by teens, whether that be writing, art, music, or film, that provide the public with real teenage views on current social and political issues. The adolescent contributors on Voice would receive a percentage of the ad revenue as well in order to support their future goals, especially in education. Motivated, passionate teens will finally have a place to get their work published and appreciated on Voice."

View Katrina's pitch presentation.

College Board Computer Science Female Diversity Award

College Board Female Diversity Computer Science Award

Flintridge Sacred Heart has earned the first College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, Flintrige Sacred Heart is one of only 685 to accomplish this.

By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, Flintridge Sacred Heart has taken a significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities,” said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program. “We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation.”
AP Computer Science A students learn to design and implement computer programs that solve problems relevant to today’s society. AP computer science course participation increased 135% since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students. The number of female, rural, and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity, and competition. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics data, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women; in North America and Western Europe, it’s just 32%. Research shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they’re given the opportunity to explore it in high school.

National Center for Women & Information Technology's Award for Aspirations in Computing

In 2018, four students and a teacher at Flintridge Sacred Heart were recipients of the Award for Aspirations in Computing from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

stem classes at fsha
Ms. Finley teaches students how to use the 3D printer
Cynthia Hernandez ’18 and Amelia Andrews ’18 received national recognition by NCWIT with honorable mention awards, while Hope Sadahiro ’18 and Maddy Freeman ’20 received regional certificates of distinction. The Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women in grades 9 to 12, recognizing them for their computing-related aspirations and demonstrated interest in technology, solid leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. Over 3,000 other young women from all over the United States were honored this year.

Originally, I did not know what opportunities I could find in regards to computer science, so I am really grateful to Ms. Finley for including me in many computer science related activities this year. Thank you so much for all that you have done for me and countless girls at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy." —Hope Sadahiro
Teacher Jeannie Finley received an honorable mention California: LA & OC Metro 2018  Affiliate NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Educator Award. The award recognizes Ms. Finley for her demostrated commitment to encouraging you women's aspirations in computing.

The awards and recognition give FSHA greater access to funding and resources through NCWIT.

Engineering at FSHA

"As a teen girl entering the tech world, I can tell you that [choosing a STEM career] is the best decision you will ever make" —Hannah Scott '17

Computer Science & Engineering Faculty

List of 2 members.

  • Jeannie Finley 

    Director of Academic Technology, Online Programs Manager, Computer Science Department Chair
    University of California, Irvine - B.A.
  • Ty Buxman 

    Science Teacher
    University of Southern California - M.S.
    Cal Poly, Pomona - B.S.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is an all girls' Catholic, Dominican, independent, college-preparatory day and boarding high school in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge. Overlooking Pasadena, FSHA educates girls from Los Angeles, Southern California and around the world for a life of faith, integrity and truth. 

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

440 St. Katherine Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
High School Office: 626-685-8300
Admissions: 626-685-8521

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