The AFSE Rec Room

The Academy For Software Engineering (AFSE) is opening in a few weeks. Roughly 125 high school freshmen will be starting a four year program that is designed to prepare them for secondary education if they want that and also for a career in software engineering and web development.

The inspiration for AFSE was the computer science program that Mike Zamansky has built at Stuyvesant High School in NYC over the past 15 years. When I first went to visit Mike at Stuy a few years ago, I walked into his office through a room where a bunch of his students were hanging out after school. These high school students could have headed home after school, or they could have hit the streets. But instead they were hanging out writing code, listening to music, playing video games, and in general geeking out together. I thought "this is where the magic happens."

So when we negotiated with the DOE for space for AFSE at the Washington Irving Campus, I was insistent that we create something similar for AFSE. We got a room and Frank Denbow is leading the effort to deck it out.

He needs the following stuff:

Furniture: Bean bag chairs, couches, small tables, tv stands

Electronics: TVs, game systems, speakers

Books: Technology, entrepreneurship, etc

Misc: Anything else that you think might be interesting to high school students interested in computer science

If you can help, please email Frank @ frank at startupthreads dot com.

#hacking education#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. Cam MacRae

    1) The AFSE is cool.2) No, really. The AFSE freakin’ cool. I would have killed for something like it back in… um… quite some time ago.3) Every month with my t-shirt I get a nice handwritten note from Frank. That’s cool too. Thanks, Frank!

    1. anonymous


      1. ShanaC

        What did he say to make you call him a loser?I don’t think he is one.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Loser is as loser does. Like leaving senseless random drive-by comments anonymously.

        1. Elia Freedman

          I can’t tell whether he/she is being serious or trying to be funny.

          1. Wavelengths

            If someone is being pointless, well, I think it doesn’t matter. Drive by.

      3. Cam MacRae

        I’ll try and do better next time, friend.

        1. Rohan

          ‘If you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks at you, you’ll never reach your destination.’ | Winston Churchill 🙂

          1. Cam MacRae

            He was a smart cookie that Churchill.

      4. jason wright


      5. fredwilson

        losers post comments like this one

    2. Elia Freedman

      I totally agree. If something like this would have been available to me when I was in high school I might not have made a multi-year detour away from CS. Of course times were different in 1991.

      1. Cam MacRae

        They sure were. Remember when they could print the entire BASIC listing for a simple game in a magazine? Typing them out was as close as I ever got to something like the AFSE. Things are going to be pretty awesome for these kids.

        1. Elia Freedman

          I loved those days!

      2. Frank Denbow

        I was lucky to have a great CS teacher in high school that kept my interest up. Hope we can do even more for these students.

        1. Elia Freedman

          I feel the same way. I just wish I would have been smarter about pursuing it after high school.

    3. Frank Denbow

      :-)Writing the thank yous are definitely the most fun part of the month. Will keep it going.

  2. Nate Kidwell

    What sports teams will it have? Wrestling and Cross Country come to mind as two sports where brainpower actually helps.

    1. Frank Denbow

      Not sure about the sports teams. The extra curriculars are shared amongst the schools in the building afaik.

    2. laurie kalmanson

      chess, math club …

  3. William Mougayar

    Can they also post on Donnors Choose? That way, out-of-towners can donate a couple of bucks.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I love it when I upvote and it goes up two points. Makes me feel powerful.But even cooler is the thought that some AVCer somewhere in the world hit the “button” at the same time.

      1. andyswan

        It really just means a glitch in the Matrix. Have a great day!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Love the Matrix reference. That’s funny,

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Your upvotes are just magical, and you’re worth two at a time.

        1. Donna Brewington White


    2. Frank Denbow

      I’m looking into this now. Would love to get it setup, just want to make sure all the right things are done to make that happen.

      1. William Mougayar

        Another idea is to simply setup a Paypal account & I will donate there.

  4. ShanaC

    Donor’s choose. Also, how old can the material be?

    1. Frank Denbow

      Looking into it.Can be old as long as its in good condition.

      1. ShanaC


  5. panterosa,

    Wow, good timing – I live a block from there and am clearing out my studio. I will keep an eye for cool things to pass on. Will they need any other ‘misc’ supplies as in making stuff/drawing etc??

    1. Frank Denbow

      We probably could use some of those things. Send me an email and we’ll see if it makes sense. Thanks!

  6. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    i just checked their website and it is pretty cool concept. It is definitely a place that parents and their kids should check out

    1. Frank Denbow

      Certainly! Its something I have wanted to be involved in for a while and its starting to become a reality.

  7. CJ

    I wish there was a similiar movement here in Chicago. I would send my son to a school like this in a heartbeat.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Would make a great franchise.

    2. Frank Denbow

      Would love to see that happen. It is going to take lots more work to make that a reality, but I hope it happens.

  8. Donna Brewington White

    What, no foosball?The DonorsChoose idea is an excellent one.And this just gets better and better. Can’t wait to see what happens when this is up and running.

    1. Frank Denbow

      We could definitely use a foosball table. Have one?Looking into DonorsChoose, will post it if we get it going.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I’d have to ship one from Los Angeles. I’d rather contribute those shipping costs to DonorsChoose to buy one. 😉

        1. David Fleck

          I just saw this post and thought – they should do a Kickstarter and/or Donors Choose project. That way there’s flexibility in terms of how the funds get used once they get going and have a chance to really suss out the needs. I’d give for sure.

  9. Max Yoder

    I’ll get in touch with the folks over at A List Apart to see if they’d be willing to donate a collection of their A Book Apart eBook series to new students.

    1. falicon

      That would be cool…all the book apart books are really great…I recommend them to people all the time.

      1. Max Yoder

        They’ve taught me so much. I don’t have any connections there, but I figure the mission is an obvious fit and it’s worth asking.

    2. Frank Denbow

      That would be awesome. Thanks Max!

  10. satjot

    Love it, let me see what we have that we could send over.

  11. Moisey Uretsky

    Awesome, really excited for this school, being a graduate of Stuyvesant and keeping up with Mr. Z since.Going to look into donating a 42″ plasma that we have at the office that we aren’t using.

    1. fredwilson


  12. laurie kalmanson

    #becauseawesome. STEM is the future. the people who put #curiosity on mars fixed their sights on the stars they steered by at a young age: raise the next generation with dreams and skills and more, better things will happenrelated: i am cautiously optimistic that green technology plus smart investment plus political action to replace entrenched special interests with new ones will solve the climate crisis. there’s no doing away with special interests, but we can replace those that do harm with those that do good; we can favor those that produce more of what we need over those that produce less.

  13. Dave Pinsen

    Congratulations on your school’s first class about to start, Fred. I’ll dig around and see if I have anything useful I can drop off for @FrankDenbow:disqus.

  14. Russell

    Not sure how we’d get one but would love to give a @fakegrimlock bot so they could get their dino-geek on as well

  15. Mike Kijewski

    I’m really proud to be involved in an industry led by people like Fred that do things like this. All of us nerds were inspired by a nerdy teacher at some point. Here’s to Fred for giving back.

    1. Frank Denbow


  16. PiGSeL

    Thanks for posting this – getting an Xbox 360 over there this week that has been gathering dust. I love what the AFSE stands for, and I think it will be a great success here in NYC!

    1. fredwilson