High school unveils new computer lab, laptop carts

High school unveils new computer lab, laptop carts

Scituate High School’s computer lab also received these single-board computers, which allow students to learn basic computer science at an affordable price. (Breeze photos by Jackie Roman)

SCITUATE – This town “took a five- to 10-year leap forward in a matter of months,” math and computer science teacher Nick Bousquet said, standing in Scituate High School’s newly renovated computer lab last week.

The lab includes 26 machines with 27-inch HD monitors, new Sonos speakers, two 3D printers, Raspberry Pi single-board computers, 3D motion control, and Autodesk Inventor software.

In addition, the high school added 50 tower computers for the computer science pathway and digital art lab, two new mobile labs for the biomedical pathway, and the high school library will now have two laptop carts for a total of 60 devices.

The English, math, and science departments will also each benefit from a laptop cart.

The new technology will support students enrolled in Scituate’s new career and technical (CTE) education programs, though students not enrolled in a pathway may also use the technology and sign up for specialized courses.

Bousquet said the rolling chairs, large screens, and additional workshop space promote creativity.

“You could have kids going in 10 different directions,” he said.

The Career and Technical Board of Trustees and the Department of Education approved Scituate High School’s computer science, pre-engineering, and biomedical CTE programs in May.

CTE programs are career-prep courses certified by the Rhode Island Department of Education that usually focus on the fields of science and technology. These are STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs local schools can use to attract students from outside the district.

“We’re providing these kids with state-of-the-art technology, and we’re ready to expand,” Scituate High School Principal Michael Hassell said.

This year, 181 high schoolers, or 42 percent of high school students in Scituate, are enrolled in a CTE course. The program will be open to out-of-district students in 2018.

Until then, tech-minded students like seniors Hannah Desplaines and Zach Simonelli get the new gadgets all to themselves.

“I think it’s going to be so much fun,” Desplaines said. As a programmer with a few homemade phone applications under her belt already, Desplaines is eager to try out “all the coding applications.”

Simonelli said he’ll be able to strengthen his own programming skills now that the internet connection is bolstered and the technology is newer.

“There were a lot of problems we encountered, but it’s going to be a lot smoother now,” Simonelli said.

Director of Technology Mark DiLuglio said the additional technology has “kicked things up a notch” but with a new full-time employee to provide tech support, the school is prepared.

Director of facilities, Glen Mathieu, oversaw the physical transformation of the computer lab from a standard classroom into a flexible work space.

“This was an important project,” Mathieu said. “Anything you see here, we touched.”

Facilities repainted the room, outfitted it with LED lighting, refurbished old wood and tiles, and created an open workshop space.

Assistant Principal David Sweet said Bousquet’s statement that Scituate took a huge leap forward in a matter of months was “really true.”

“The capabilities are amazing,” he said.

Scituate High School will host an out-of-district open house on Sept. 20. Families from surrounding communities who have students entering 9th or 10th grade in the 2018-2019 school year are encouraged to attend.

Scituate High School is now accepting applications for its career and technical pathway for out-of-district students. Questions can be sent to SpartanCTE@scituateschoolsri.net.

Senior Zach Simonelli took a programming course at the high school last year and said he looks forward to working on the new equipment. “It’s going to be a lot smoother,” Simonelli said.