MacBooks, Marriott and engineering soon at WJ: Next year’s new classes

Einav Tsach

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Einav Tsach

Students working on Python programming problems in Mr. Hanlon’s class on Feb 28. The WJ Computer Science department’s offerings will be expanded with the addition of a new Apple programming class.

With the registration process for the next school year ongoing, WJ administration has begun to share information about new classes that will be offered. Wildcats will soon be able to study iPhone app building using Apple devices, know the foundations of technological engineering and learn how to be entrepreneurs.

“App Development with Swift, Level 1” will teach programming for Apple products.

“[The course] will allow to begin and understand how to develop Apple apps for your iPhone or Apple Watch or computer,” WJ technology teacher George Lavelle said.

The class, an introductory course open to all grades with no prerequisite, uses a programming platform called Xcode that only runs on Apple products. The school, therefore, will be purchasing new devices for the class.

“We’re going to be getting all-new, a whole class set of Apple laptops, MacBook Airs and we’re going to be getting some iPads to use, develop and test those apps,” Lavelle said.

The course is part of a set of several classes developed. Lavelle says that in the future, students who take all of the classes in the set could potentially earn an Apple Swift and Xcode certification.

Senior Dror Yaniv learned about the class several weeks ago and says that he would have taken it if he could.

“I think I would have taken it, and it probably would have interested a bunch of WJ students because a lot of people want to learn how to program and a lot of people like Apple,” Yaniv said.

The class will not provide students with Maryland’s basic tech graduation credit, but will instead course be a fun elective that attracts many students.

“Foundations of Engineering and Technology” will teach technological literacy.

This new course, open to all grades with no prerequisite, will provide students with a tech credit. According to WJ’s course bulletin, students in the class “will develop technological literacy while studying the evolution, systems, utilization, and impacts of technology and its integrated application of mathematics, science, and other technological areas which result in invention and innovation.”

“Principles of Hospitality and Marketing” will cover the basics of the service and business worlds.

The course, developed by MCPS and the Montgomery County Students Foundation for Hospitality & Restaurant Management, Inc., is sponsored by the global hotel chain Marriott and restaurants Cava and Matchbox. It will teach students topics like sales and marketing, information technology, business entrepreneurship and more. It is possible that students will have the opportunity to intern for those businesses. Social studies teacher Kimberly Reif will oversee the class at WJ.

“I think being partnered with these large businesses are going to open up opportunities that you wouldn’t see just being inside the school system or inside the classroom,” Reif said.

WJ head of the counseling department Lisa Sorensen said the course is currently being aimed toward underclassmen.

“[The course] will be open to primarily 9th and 10th graders, but depending on our enrollment, we may enroll other grade levels,” Sorensen said.

This course is the first of four hospitality and management courses made available to students, and the rest will be rolled out one new class per year. The class will be an elective, but students will have the option to use it as a program completer alternative to the world language, advanced technology or Edison technology routes.

“There’s a partnership between a bunch of business owners, entrepreneurs wanting to get students involved in this career field,” Sorensen said.

With the class change deadline in June, students interested in these classes should speak with their counselor to make a change to their course requests.