Computer Science Academy
The Computer Science Academy at Christopher High School welcomes incoming 9th graders for 2022/23! The Computer Science Academy at Christopher High School is a great opportunity for students who would like to study computer science in Gilroy. Our CS Academy provides 4 years of preparatory classes with hands-on opportunities to learn computer science skills using curriculum developed by Project Lead The Way (PLTW).
Please contact Mrs. Berggren if you or your parents have any questions.
What is Computer Science (CS)?
a theory and practice that allows you to program a computer to do what you want it to
a tool that helps you tell a story or make something happen with technology
a skill that teaches students how to use computers to create, not just use or consume technology
a discipline that emphasizes persistence in problem solving
Computational thinking is a different way to approach problems:
logically and creatively, so that they can be automated
With each passing day, it becomes more difficult to name something that computer science doesn't touch. No matter if we're flying cross-country, using mobile apps to manage our daily lives, or perching on the edges of our seats at a movie theater, we're surrounded by computer science. At a time when computer science affects how we work and live, the CS Academy empowers students in grades 9-12 to become creators of the technology all around them.
As students work together to design solutions, they learn computational thinking ‒ not just how to code ‒ and transform themselves into builders of tech. The CS Academy's series of courses empowers students with in-demand knowledge and skills they will use in high school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. If you like solving puzzles, you sound perfect for our program!
Computer Science Academy Pathway Courses
9th: Computer Science Essentials
10th: AP Computer Science Principles (weighted)
11th: AP Computer Science A (weighted)
The Computer Science Academy is a rigorous program in high demand. In addition to the items in the application, students must be in the eighth grade, students must have a 2.50 or better GPA, and successfully promote from middle school; incoming transcripts will be pulled for each student.
Please complete this application, submit your essay, and have 2 teachers complete the recommendation form.
Applications must include these three parts: (use links at the top of this page to submit)
Complete and sign the application/contract with a parent/guardian.
Two recommendations from current teachers, one must be from a science or math teacher.
Writing sample required for entry into the program:
Essay Prompt: In 300-500 words, please explain why you would like to enter the CHS CS Academy.
Include your interest in computer science and technology.
The deadline is at the top right of this webpage.
To transfer to CHS for the CS Academy, see the bottom of the CHS incoming freshman page.
Computer Science Academy Course Sequencing
Computer Science Essentials
English 1 or Honors English 1
Math 1 or Math 1+
Biology or Honors Biology
Foreign Language 1
PE Course 1
Computer Science Essentials - 9th
With emphasis on computational thinking and collaboration, CS Essentials provides an excellent entry point for students to begin the PLTW Computer Science K-12 experience. CS Essentials will expose students to a diverse set of computational thinking concepts, fundamentals, and tools, allowing them to gain understanding and build confidence. Students will use visual, block-based programming and transition to text-based programming with languages such as Python. They'll apply computational thinking practices, build their vocabulary, and collaborate just as computing professionals do to create products that address topics and problems important to them. CS Essentials helps students create a strong foundation to advance to the next levels in the Computer Science Academy.
Computer Science Principles (AP)
English 2 or Honors English 2
Math 2 or Math 2+
Chemistry or Honors Chemistry
Foreign Language 2
PE Course 2 (zero Period)
World History or AP World History
AP Computer Science Principles - 10th
Using Python as a primary tool, students explore and become inspired by career paths that utilize computing, discover tools that foster creativity and collaboration, and use what they've learned to tackle challenges like app development and simulation. Using a project-based curriculum, students will collaboratively learn the seven big ideas of computer science: Creativity, Abstraction, Data and Information, Algorithms, Programming, The Internet, and Global Impact.
Throughout the year students will develop programs and research projects to prepare them for the Artifacts to submit to their Digital Portfolio as part of the AP Exam which will earn college credit.
Computer Science A (AP)
English 3 or AP English Language
Math 3 or Math 3+
Physics or AP Physics
Foreign Language 3
US History or AP US History
AP Computer Science A - 11th
CS A is an advanced course in computer science building on the basic skill learned in CS Principles to teach students Java. Students complete activities and projects aligned with the College Board requirements then collaborate to create original solutions to problems of their own choosing by designing and implementing user interfaces and Web-based databases, as well as creating a game for their friends or an app to serve a real need in their community. The course aims to fully develop Object Oriented Programming skills and will require consummate engagements with the material for success.
English 4 or AP English Literature
AP Calc or AP Stats
Other Elective - Fine Art
Cybersecurity - 12th
Introduces the tools and concepts of cybersecurity and encourages students to create solutions that allow people to share computing resources while protecting privacy. In Cybersecurity, students solve problems by understanding and closing the vulnerabilities in computational resources. This course raises students' knowledge of and commitment to ethical computing behavior. It also aims to develop students' skills as consumers, friends, citizens, and employees who can effectively contribute to communities with a dependable cyber-infrastructure that moves and processes information safely.