Computer Science and Dance Merge in Curriculum at Bronx Arts School

In a segment titled How I Teach, we explore how educators engage their students to deliver impactful lessons.

Approximately two years after beginning her math teaching journey at a Bronx arts high school, Maha Hasen responded to students’ requests to establish a computer science program. She proactively delved into learning the subject matter.

Engaging in a fellowship with Upperline Code, an initiative for educators dedicated to broadening computer science accessibility, Hasen successfully reintroduced AP Computer Science principles at Fordham High School for the Arts. She also kickstarted a coding club, enabling students to craft websites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Transitioning into her eighth year at the school where she launched her teaching career, Hasen assumed the role of assistant principal while still instructing a select few courses. Her educational institution now boasts a four-year computer science program incorporating work-based learning opportunities through the Education Department’s FutureReadyNYC initiative.

Determined to augment the participation of girls in the realm of computer science, Hasen even collaborated with a dance instructor to fuse step routines with coding. Females comprise over 70% of the student body at her arts-centered school.

“My students are devoted, expressive, and innovative change agents aspiring to leverage their computer science skills to challenge the notion that women aren’t suited for the field, and to genuinely transform their communities for the better through the application of their acquired knowledge,” shared Hasen, a recipient of numerous accolades such as the 2023 Big Apple Teaching Award and the 2022 Cognizant Innovation in Computer Science Award.

In addition to partaking in the secondary phase of schools within the FutureReadyNYC program, Hasen’s educational institution was recently chosen to participate in the city’s Career Readiness & Modern Youth Apprenticeship scheme. Through this program, students can engage in paid apprenticeships with technology firms and pursue coursework at New York University to obtain an associate degree.

These initiatives, according to Hasen, are instrumental in “ensuring that we transcend the boundaries of a conventional high school curriculum.”

This conversation has been gently revised for brevity and clarity.