Middle school computer science club challenged to architect a network design | Kenosha Unified School District

Middle school computer science club challenged to architect a network design

Students compete for Raspberry Pi 3 B+ in challenge issued by community partner 

Kenosha, Wisconsin: Leeward Business Advisors’ CEO, Michael Polzin challenges Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum (KTEC) middle-school computer science club to architect a network design to support the real-world, business-use case for a fictional international company. 

This is the third year Leeward Business Advisors has facilitated the club. Students meet once a week, after school for 8 weeks. Other LeewardBA employees, including a KTEC alumnus and one of their youngest employees, 16-year-old Cassese (CJ) Polzin also visit the club to provide support. CJ has assisted with KTEC computer science assemblies and works as a Junior Programmer for LeewardBA while he continues to pursue an education in Network Security and Ethical Hacking.;

“I have been mostly self-taught when it comes to computers. Being able to share that knowledge with the students and watch them learn and grow is a lot of fun. I wish we had more activities like this when I was in middle school."

— Cassese Polzin

This year’s club focused on computer networking essentials and cyber security. Students learned about the 7 layers of the Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) and studied networking components. They experimented with different network types and explored the difference between bandwidth and latency. 

“The numbers are staggering. Sixty two percent (62%) of cyberattacks target small and mid-sized businesses. Sixty percent (60%) of the businesses that are impacted go out of business within six months. Properly designed networks and layers of security are now an imperative for even the smallest of businesses. These students are getting a foundational understanding of critical network security concepts in middle school. They are now well prepared to develop into computer professionals to defend the networks of our near future.”

— Michael Polzin, CEO Leeward Business Advisors

On March 20th students will present their designs to a senior network architect, Tom Beeson, from Leeward Business Advisors. The top three winning designers will each receive a new Raspberry Pi 3 microcomputer. 

About Leeward Business Advisors

Leeward Business Advisors is a Wisconsin based corporation that provides business strategy planning, business improvement implementation, and full IT operational support. They offer world class Cloud Computing services, Cloud brokerage, Managed IT services, and a full US based Support Service Desk (called Quick Answers). Michael Polzin, CEO has 20+ years of enterprise business and technology experience gained while working at Allstate Insurance and Microsoft Corporation. Jason Klein, CTO has 15+ years delivering effective and efficient technology to Midwest companies.

About KTEC

Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum is a leader in innovative education, connecting with local, national, and global business and educators, offering rigorous, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) infused academics, producing caring, well-rounded 21st century citizens. Their mission as a PreK-8 school is an innovative learning environment, is to prepare students for success in a global society through academic excellence by the use of 21st century skills and technology integration.

Left: a girl using a tool to assemble her project. Right: Two boys configuring a network while an instructor observes.