Five representatives from Singapore’s Ministry of Education and two representatives from the National University of Singapore came to The Harker Upper School on Sept. 15 to learn more about Harker’s computer science curriculum.
The visitors hope to generate interest in computer science programs in Singapore’s students, and wanted to learn how high schools in the United States were implementing computer science programs. They were led to Harker due to its recognition by the College Board as having one of the top computer science curricula in its size range (300-799 students) and by its development of University of California-approved courses. Their trip also included visits to Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon.
The day began with a meeting between Barnabas Tan, curriculum planning officer for the Singapore Ministry of Education, and Eric Nelson, computer science department chair. During the meeting, Nelson shared and discussed information about the various aspects of the program.
Following the discussion, they headed to Nichols Hall to observe Susan King’s AP Computer Science class, in order gain a better understanding of what goes on in the classroom from day to day. They then received a tour of the Saratoga campus’ facilities courtesy of Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs.
The group then headed back to Nichols Hall to observe a programming class taught by Richard Page, who then accompanied Tan to lunch, which they enjoyed with the rest of Harker’s computer science faculty.
The representatives mentioned that they were impressed with the caliber of Harker’s programs and with the many interdisciplinary connections within its computer science curriculum. “They expressed interest in our focus on algorithmic thinking, a common theme they found among their university visits,” Gargano said.