R.B. Stall High School has earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles.
Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, R.B. Stall High School is one of 490 to receive this award and just one of 11 in South Carolina.
The staff at Stall attributes some of this success to the grant they earned from the National Math and Science Initiative (NSMI) in 2017. It supported the school in certifying teachers to teach AP courses and led to higher passing rates for students in those classes.
“At R.B. Stall, we are honored to be recognized for our numerous females who are taking AP Computer Science,” said Virginia Sayer, Stall’s Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction. “It is vital to us that our female students have the confidence and perseverance for education and hopefully employment in STEM. The NSMI grant has helped us to open up AP Computer Science program to a large number of students. Through this grant and the opportunities we provide, our female students are learning to be innovative, curious, and creative.”
Schools receiving this honor have either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population.
“By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, R.B. Stall High School has taken a significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities,” said Trevor Packer, College Board Senior Vice President of the AP Program. “We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation.”
The AP Computer Science Principles course launch in 2016 was the largest in Program history. AP Computer Science Principles has promoted the growth of AP computer science in high schools.
AP computer science course participation increased 135% since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students. The number of female, rural, and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.
“Computer science is important for all, but it is extremely important we are intentional about providing this opportunity for female students,” added Stall’s AP Computer Science teacher, Christy Spence. “They need to know they belong in STEM-related career fields as well.”
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. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics data, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women; in North America and Western Europe, it’s just 32%.
Research shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they’re given the opportunity to explore it in high school.
For more about R.B. Stall’s honor, contact Principal Jeremy Carrick at (843) 764-2200.