Academics
Departments & Staff

Computer Science

Mission and Philosophy

The Faculty of the Computer Science Department at Xavier College Preparatory are committed to utilizing computer technology in every aspect of the classroom and school community in the pursuit of academic excellence. We strive to prepare young women with knowledge, skills, and integrity to meet the challenges of a changing global society in a positive and productive manner. We want our students to not just learn to use a particular software program, but to be successful in a time of rapid technological change. Our emphasis has changed from memorizing facts to learning how to acquire new information and learn the skill of teaching oneself how to use new technologies as tools for productivity and self growth.  

The Department supports faculty professional development to stay current with advanced technology and content. In an effort to encourage respect, we provide an environment that promotes the right of each individual to learn and establishes a sense of responsibility for the student’s own conduct and performance.

Xavier makes deliberate efforts to increase student participation in computing. Computer programming is a graduation requirement. All Sophomores take one semester of Java.  We offer both APCSA and APCSP. 

Girls Have IT Day

Girls Have IT Day is a co-curricular event to engage, empower, and excite middle school girls in STEAM. High school girls design, develop, and deliver hands-on activities to middle school girls. 10 years running. 67% from Title 1 schools. 90% want to work harder in school. 100% fun!

We use a ‘near-peer’ mentoring model, high school girls design, develop and deliver hands-on STEAM activities to middle school girls. High school girls learn the power of mentoring and some have gone on to college and started similar programs. Thousands of girls - both high school and middle school - have been impacted positively as a result of Girls Have IT Day! Visit us and register 
HERE

Tek Trek

Tek Trek is a tour of technology companies in Phoenix so students can explore various careers in tech. Students get a behind-the-scenes look and directly engage with leadership. It is a meaningful co-curricular experience for students because of the direct, unfiltered engagement with tech leaders and entrepreneurs.

Tek Trek was started because women working in the tech field told us that what made a difference for them was the extra-curricular experiences in high school that allowed them to learn about the tech industry. In 2016, we started a free day tour of several technology companies in the Phoenix Metro area which allows students the opportunity to explore various careers in the technology field. Students have a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at local tech companies and directly engage with leadership. Representatives from each company discuss and guide students, showing them what working in the technology industry would entail. They tell students what educational and career path enabled them to get where they are today and host a question and answer session. It is a meaningful co-curricular experience for our students because of the direct, unfiltered engagement with tech leaders and entrepreneurs.
 

EPICS

EPICS HIGH is a design-based, service learning program that teaches students about engineering and technology fields while civically engaging them in their local communities. The program was founded at Purdue University in 1995, and has grown at Purdue and beyond to include nearly a dozen national and international universities.This partnership provides many benefits to the students and the community alike. Students are introduced to engineering, technical design, and social responsibility, while community partners gain access to resources needed to provide valuable services to their organization. EPICS at Xavier provides a means to using engineering and service to integrate and understand the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching.
 

Our Inspiration

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller, BVM, was the first person to earn a PhD in Computer Science.  She is also from the same religious order as those who have run Xavier, an all-girls high school,  since our founding in 1943.  We consider it our legacy to support and encourage girls in computer science.  We make deliberate efforts to increase student participation in computing.  
 

Curriculum Expectations

  • Working Cooperatively  
  • Seeking Relationship/connection/inclusion  
  • Learning from Experience
  • Operating out of an Ethic of Care and Connection
  • Learning in Dialogue
  • Reverence for the Students’ Own Ideas  
  • Responding Positively to Choice  
  • Seeking Accomplishment/Achievement
  • Strengthening Self-confidence  
  • Developing Verbal Assertiveness 

Student Tech Advisors

The IT Club staffs 18 shifts a week as Student Tech Advisors, helping other students with technology.  They also visit a Title 1 school to celebrate CS Ed Week every year.  The students design and deliver hands-on computing activities to engage the middle school girls in computing.  Peer mentoring!
 

Meet the Department

Frances McMahon Ward, MFA
Co-chair Computer Department
Broadcast Journalism: XPress
Video Art for Rio Salado
Animation Techniques
Cinema 
Women in Film 
 
Glen Hestenes
Physics
Aviation Ground School (I, II, & III) 
 
Nathan Ward, MA, MFA
3D Printing & Prototyping
Makers Class
Robotics
Sculpture I 
Sculpture II 
Sculpture III
Robotics Club Moderator 
 
Catherine Wyman, MSIS
Co-chair Computer Department
Computer Programming Essentials
for Rio Salado
AP Computer Science A
for Rio Salado
AP Computer Science Principles
for Rio Salado
 
Chris Pfaff
Computer Programming Essentials
for Rio Salado
 

Xavier College Preparatory

4710 North Fifth Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
P. (602) 277-3772
F. (602) 279-1346

National Blue Ribbon Recipient

1990-91
1994-96
2013

Accreditation

AdvancED
Western Catholic Educational Association