Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CS Educator Interview: Tom Indelicato

I didn’t go far from home for this one. tom Tom Indelicato and I teach together at Bishop Guertin High School. Some years ago I hired him to be the fill a need for a computer science teacher. One of the best moves I’ve made. This past January he hired me to come back to BG as a teacher after I left Microsoft. Besides teaching computer science, Tom is also the faculty mentor for the school’s FIRST Robotics Team 811. He’s seen at a FIRST event in this picture.

Where do you teach? What sort of school is it?

Private Catholic middle class high school. (I’d say “urban”, but that’s giving Nashua a better rep than it deserves.) [ED: BG is a college prep school and on an average year 97% of graduates go on to attend a four year college/university. Yeah, I’m kind of proud to teach there. And my son is a graduate as are all three of Tom’s children.]

How did you get started teaching computer science?

After 17 years of programming in industry, I decided to answer what I considered a call from above and make change. Haven’t looked back.

Describe the computer science curriculum at your school. What courses do you have and what are the focuses of each?

“Explorations in Computer Science”, a freshman class (which is a new replacement of a Microsoft Office class) that introduces CS concepts with a little programming; “Honors Programming”, the follow-on to ECS and preparation for APCS; “APCS” (self-explanatory); “MultiMedia”, a course focusing on the artistic aspects of Mac computers; and “Graphic Design”, a Mac-based Photoshop class. (“Yearbook” is an Art class.)

What is your overall teaching philosophy? Project based learning? Flipped classroom? In short, what makes your CS program “your CS program?”

My goal is to “infect” as many students as possible with the same love that I have for programming. I use project-based lessons, and my lessons a rife with stories from my professional career.

What is the biggest challenge in teaching CS at your school?

As only one semester is required for graduation, my biggest challenge is getting kids to consider a second CS class. This was the inspiration for the new ECS class.

What is administration’s support (or lack of support) like at your school?

Generally, I’d say the administration is supportive of the CS program; there’s almost never been a time when resources were denied, and they’re open to suggestions for improving the program.

How do you measure success for your program? For your students?

I see success in the long list of students who’ve gone on to study CS or engineering, but my hope with ECS is to see this list grow faster.
For a full list of interviews in this series please see CS Educator Interviews: The Index

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