SHIP @ St Joseph's - A Summer Coding Program In NYC

The godfather of K-12 computer science education in NYC is Mike Zamansky. Almost 25 years ago, Mike left a programming job at Goldman Sachs and become a NYC public school teacher. A few years later, in the mid 90s, he started the CS program at NYC’s Stuyvesant High School. The NY tech sector is full of software engineers who got their first taste of coding in Mike’s classes at Stuy. He’s an inspiration to me and one of the unsung heroes of the NYC tech sector. The raw material of any tech sector is talent and Mike creates home grown talent. They might leave NYC to go to college, but many of them come home to start their careers. We need more of this and that’s what CSNYC is all about. And Mike was instrumental in getting me to take this thing on a few years ago when I saw what he had built at Stuy.

Anyway, Mike is running a summer coding program at St Joseph’s College in the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is called SHIP @ St Joseph’s. It’s a four week program that lasts the month of July. I believe it is focused on high school students but it could be available to a wider range of students. If you are interested in learning more, go here. If you want to apply, go here.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Fort Greene Brooklyn sounds like a really tough place. is it?

    1. fredwilson

      No, its awesome

      1. jason wright

        perhaps i’m getting muddled up – Green Point?Or, Fort Apache. Hollywood has a lot to answer for. May its disruption hasten.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          You might be thinking of Knuckle Beach or Little Chechnya.

          1. jason wright

            P. J. O’Rourke territory? i will take the body guarded tour.America’s domestic socio economic war zones?

          2. Dave Pinsen

            30 Rock reference.

          3. jason wright

            not seen it.

    2. Twain Twain

      Fort Greene is bona fide gentrified. It’s got big houses and lots of ABC1 professionals with families in the area.Green Point is attracting a vibrant creatives community.Both areas have seen house prices and rentals on the rise.

  2. JimHirshfield

    F@ck it. Ship it.

    1. jason wright

      ‘lighthouse’ would be a great analogy.they should invite Russell Crowe to open it.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      ‘kin’ a’s, bro.

      1. JimHirshfield


        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          translation: f*ckin’ a’s , bro. (sometimes used with just a singular ‘a’)

  3. Anthony Serina

    Awesome that the program is going on in Fort Greene. When you hear about programs at Stuyvesant, Bronx Science etc. it almost comes as expected as they are the best public schools in NYC and super difficult to get into. Bringing the program to BK will open up more opportunities to people that might not have had them. This is great to hear.

    1. Mike Zamansky

      bringing our work to a wider range of kids is what CSTUY is all about.

      1. Richard

        Love to hear more about the leap from GS

        1. Mike Zamansky

          Not much to tell. After college, I wanted to stay in the city and the tech scene was very different back then – most of the opportunities were in finance.After working on a few projects, I found that Wall St. didn’t do it for me, I did a bit of consulting, then tried the teaching thing.Boy was I unprepared — it was the hardest thing I’d ever done – much harder than the time I put in at GS or anywhere else.After teaching math for a couple of years at Seward Park HS and then at Stuyvesant, I started the path that I’m still on today.I often wonder if I would have chosen a different path had I come around a few years later and there were other tech opportunities in NY.

  4. Twain Twain


  5. William Mougayar

    So many opportunities to push programming education everywhere.

  6. Richard

    The time is right for code”ege” as a true alternative to college.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      I read somewhere that a report is coming out that claims nearly half of NYC tech workers do not have college degrees. If that’s the case, maybe it already arrived.

  7. awaldstein

    The world changes because communities emulate the interesting and the successful. They create heroes.I love what is happening here (from a family of teachers btw) but as a marketer, my advice is don’t market the teachers, market the kids who are making this part of their lives and changing it.Not a criticism, a suggestion.

    1. fredwilson

      yupppppthat’s why its kids on the homepage of CSNYC

      1. awaldstein

        This is good stuff Fred.

    2. LE

      my advice is don’t market the teachersMy take is different.I think it’s an excellent idea to market the teachers and especially Mike Zamansky (who I don’t know other than what Fred has mentioned).It appears to me that Fred is just pointing out the good work of Zamansky. Particularly in that he left a job at Goldman (nothing to sneeze at) and decided to teach high school students. That’s a bit unusual.By talking about the teachers and making them a very important part you give others motivation to take the same path.Attention is exposure and it gets people interested in emulating the behavior. There are many ways to do this (prizes, awards, major news stories , mention on the nightly news, or by important bloggers. Like Fred.)Our local elementary and middle school has no equivalent of a Mike Zemansky. [1] It’s a good school district but they can’t even get their shit together for a music show (and I’ve seen this at other suburban public schools as well). My last suggestion to my wife was that they needed someone who had a clue to come in and choreograph things along with the teachers (who are lifers). Doesn’t have to be a teacher could just be a parent helping out. Band wise they have this (a local parent was in a semi famous rock band in the 90’s).[1] My high school does have this now though obviously not back when I was a student.

      1. awaldstein

        Different ways to get to the goal line.Some people focus on aggregating demand others supply. Marketing teachers is marketing supply as the key to drive demand.Marketing the local heroes, the kids who have jumped on this, is building a follow me community of supplyIf you have the market, in this model, you will find a way to build demand.My take.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        The US is totally awash in music: Several colleges, e.g., Indiana University, Oberlin, concentrate heavily on music. There is no shortage of music stores or teachers of piano, violin, voice, etc.Right: The K-12 schools don’t do very well with music. Not a surprise because they don’t do very well at anything except babysitting.If a parent wants their child to do something in, say, business, music, mathematics, computing, etc., then the parent just has to provide some leadership. It’s up to the individual parents. For formal education, f’get about it.For recorded music, YouTube is just awash in it. The Internet is awash in the scores of a large fraction of the best music since Bach. For writing and performing music, can use a computer with some software.For computing, get a computer and dig in. For Windows, just get the .NET Framework, which likely is with Windows anyway, and that comes with compilers for Visual Basic .NET, C#, C++, etc. — for free. And there is an ocean of free software for Linux for writing software. And there is much more free software for both Windows and Linux. For Web sites, again the Internet is awash in documentation and tutorials. And there are many books at all levels from the very first up to the operating system internals.To heck with K-12. F’get about K-12.CSNYC, etc. should be able to let K-12 at least get started on getting kids into computing, but, still, I suspect that leadership from parents and with most of the effort by the students outside of any formal program will still be necessary. Why? Quite broadly in practice, formal education in computing has not worked very well. Instead all along, how to write software and even much more in computing has been mostly from people being self-taught. While something like CSNYC should be able to get some progress started, once computer education is 100% back in the K-12 system, I suspect poor results. Why? The K-12 system won’t be able to keep up with the industry. For more, my view is that the future of computing very much needs more than courses in programming and even college material computer science. My view is that the key to the future of computing is pure and applied mathematics — sorry ’bout that.For more, we might notice that programming taken narrowly is nearly dirt simple, trivial: It’s allocate-free, if-then-else, do-while, call-return, try-catch, etc. For more, the bottleneck is, may I have the envelope, please, some really badly designed interfaces and some really awful documentation from from just terribly low quality technical writing.Nearly all the struggle with software development now is struggling against the bad interfaces and technical documentation. That struggle is sad because in a few years all learned in that struggle will be obsolete.So, right, teach algorithms and data structures from Sedgewick, Knuth’s TACP, etc.? Why bother? Yes, those ideas will still be used 100 years from now, but most of that stuff is now in various libraries ready to be used.More generally, computer science is short on things to teach that will remain useful for very many people for very many years. Doing well pushing the boundaries of the technical parts of computing will be basically mathematical and not something from current computer science except for some especially well done mathematical parts. Why? Mathematics has the crucially needed content and methodology, and computer science has neither.Programming? That’s if-then-else, etc. and struggling with bad design and documentation.

    3. jason wright

      we live in a celebrity culture, but one where being famous for being famous is too often seen.imagine a celebrity teacher, celebrated for being a classroom superstar, capable of changing lives. that’s someone worth marketing.

      1. awaldstein

        Marketing to the broadest and deepest network connection is never a bad way to start.Find the rock starts that care works. If it’s the teacher great. In a new market I would hold that the students who step up will drive both more attendance and the status of the teacher herself.

    4. Alex Wolf

      Arnold – I totally agree – #community #FTW- find yourself several interesting ones, to have engaging ideas and people enter your life daily, and iterate that continually.Case in point – My 12yo. daughter’s BFF was at FIRST this weekend in JV Robotics team from all girl’s school, who placed in top 3 to get there. Mom works for CSNYC. Other team member in V Robotics has Replicators at home since dad’s a VC investor and we were all at MakerFaire together.My daughter asked all by herself to learn to code, beyond Scratch which she’s been on for years. I see more advanced coding as the next logical step from 3D printing and robotics, as well as a peer group, of girls!!, who thinks this is fun.

      1. awaldstein

        There is some analogs to I’m sure how you are thinking about marketing and networking your game–no?Did I see somewhere that you have a new name?

        1. Alex Wolf

          Yes, we have a new name – na2ure. Just flipped it all over the weekend and loaded up the site for launch.We have a beautiful synchronicity with Cosmos program sections and playing our games, like Anigramit, after watching helps the message sink in. Who knew you could improve on Carl Sagan’s original? #props

          1. awaldstein

            Cool name!

          2. Alex Wolf

            Even cooler logo I penned via calligraphy – and it will morph, just like nature herself. Check Also, new logo for app which we renamed.I still have that idea rattling around for Luli which I’ll send you when I change pen nibs to thicker.

          3. awaldstein

            I’ll take a look.Talking business and marketing don’t know if you had a chance to glance at this little pragmatic piece:Our love/hate relationship with PR just hired a PR maven who simply rocks and made me think about when it is right, for the right vertical segment and the person is a true innovator, this can move a market.

          4. Alex Wolf

            I did see your post as we had chatted PR recently. Good post about so much bad fit.I asked the PR guy I thought was a great fit for us and he said ‘you don’t need me. own your relationships with journos first, because you’re doing everything else right already.” He also pointed to a firm for a brand I love and I dislike what they are doing with the brand, but then, who asked me.So glad Luli found her maven though!

          5. awaldstein

            (edited)So you are saying that you are in a vertical niche you can handle yourself?Could be.There ain’t nothing like a pr/partner program for moving products when done right in house or out.

  8. kenberger

    These programs to get kids in the technology game, instead of just sports, are awesome.The FIRST Robotics nyc event this past weekend was gratifying to witness– a tech event with a sporting format. My old grade school represented too. If anything like this existed when I was 12, I’d have been all over it.

  9. pointsnfigures

    We can whine about not having enough computing talent. Currently, the only way to get it is import it. But, send very strong signals out via programs like this and one day we might have a good supply of home grown talent.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      The Economic Policy Institute looked at the data and found that there isn’t a shortage of computing talent:

  10. Semil Shah

    Thanks for highlighting someone like Mark. Seems like a great story buried there in his own history.

  11. Tim Novikoff

    Celebrating great teachers is the most efficient way improve education. Fred, it’s GREAT that you come out and celebrate Mike’s contributions to the NYC tech scene!