Computer Science

Creating with information and code.

We work with students to be able to use technology as a powerful tool for inquiry, research, collaboration and presentation. Students develop skills they need to be successful at using technology to meet the challenges of rigorous upper school work as well as pursue intellectual passions of their own in our Ninth Grade Seminar class. Many of our students go on to extend their knowledge by taking computer science and related classes where they learn how to code and make tools of their own design. We recognize that technology can also be used to draw us away from schoolwork and each other. To help us maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks, we take care to use technology in positive ways and coach students on how to confidently manage their time online.

"I was excited to apply my AP Computer Science class knowledge to real word experiences, such as creating code and formulas for an Excel model about municipal finance during my Senior Comprehensive Project. New jobs and careers related to technology are developed everyday; it is important that I have these skills in order to adapt to the evolving job market." Charlotte Murray OPC '18

Key Characteristics

  • Hands-on, confidence building learning approach for students to master school systems for communication, document creation and managing their homework.

  • Coordination with the Upper School learning specialist, division directors and grade-level deans to meet the individual technology learning needs of students.

  • Extended learning opportunities for students who want to learn how technology works and to create tech tools of their own.

  • Attention to the human side of technology with a focus on the health, safety and ethics of technology use in our society.

Curricular Highlights

Maker space. Ninth graders learn about technology by creating hands-on projects in our IdeaLab.

AP Computer Science. In two advanced-placement classes, students explore the principles of Computer Science and its effects on society. 

Independent Study. Students with a particular passion in the field of computer science may work with the department chair to design a personalized curriculum that suits their skill level and interests.

2020 AP CSP Female Diversity Award logo banner

"It is important that no matter what field you go into, you explore how to use technology to push ahead of what is already established. I discovered my love for art and technology at PC and my teachers helped me bring them together in class projects." Chris Stone OPC '10, 3d Artist at Riot Games, Los Angeles, CA

Graduation Requirements

The Computer Science Department offers courses for Upper School students in the use of computers and in the field of computer science. Due to the rapidly changing nature of this field, all courses and the course offerings are revised annually. The 9th grade course, Ninth Grade Seminar, is the point of introduction to basic computer use and programming in the Upper School.

Click Here to View the Course List

Computer Science in Action

The IdeaLab: Where Ideas Come to Life

The Penn Charter IdeaLab, founded in 2015, provides the space and tools necessary for students to create, collaborate and innovate through project-based learning.