PHS and DHS recognized with First College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award
Pearland and Dawson high schools have recently earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, PHS and DHS have been included on the list of only 685 schools who have received this recognition.
“Being recognized by College Board as a district where two high schools received honors for achieving equity in an advanced level STEM program celebrates the diversity of our district and the intentionality of our teachers and administrators who have reached out to students,” Pearland ISD Director of Advanced Academics Margo Gigee said. “The recognition reflects the heart of our district and Advanced Academics programs – we believe that every student matters and we really are ‘world-class’.”
College Board’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award recognizes schools that are closing the gender gap and engaging more female students in computer science coursework in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) and AP Computer Science A (AP CSA). Specifically, College Board is honoring schools who reached 50% or higher female representation in either of the two AP computer science courses in 2018, or whose percentage of the female examinees met or exceeded that of the school's female population in 2018.
AP Computer Science Principles is an introductory college computing class in which students learn basic programming and use computational thinking and creative problem solving to design and develop program projects that address real world problems. This is only the second year that Pearland ISD has offered AP Computer Science Principles. In its inaugural year, 38 students enrolled in the class with 97% pass rate, far above the global average.
In elementary and middle school, girls and boys show interest in science and technology, but in spite of national initiatives, girls tend to lose interest in junior high. The district has created efforts to keep students engaged and interested, regardless of their gender.
“At Pearland ISD, we have been intentional about our efforts to encourage all students to continue participating in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Specifically, we have made IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry) available to 8th grade students, started summer PEAR Camp (Physics, Engineering, Art and Applied Math, and Robotics), begun Robotics programs at middle school and one elementary school and have been intentional about individual student career counseling,” Gigee said.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity and competition.
“The importance of AP Computer Science Principles is the transdisciplinary nature of the project development. Students not only learn to program, but they use creativity and computational thinking when using software and technology. The ability to program and to interact and interpret large amounts of data is essential in the 21st century workplace,” Gigee said.