Old Town High School earns award for diversity in computer science program
OLD TOWN, Maine — Old Town High School has earned the College Board Advanced Placement 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 the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, 1,119 achieved either 50 percent 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 during the 2019-2020 school year. That’s nearly 37 percent more than the 818 schools recognized last year.
In 2020, Old Town High School was one of 831 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles.
“During an unprecedented year, OTHS students have demonstrated perseverance and dedication in their study of AP Computer Science,” OTHS Principal Scott Gordon said. “We could not be more proud of OTHS students for staking their claim as the next generation of STEM and computer science professionals. We can’t wait to see their passion for next generation technology lead to lifelong success.”
“Old Town High School’s students need the power to shape technology, not just cope with it,” said Stefanie Sanford, College Board chief of global policy and external relations. “Young women deserve an equal opportunity to become the next generation of entrepreneurs, engineers and tech leaders. Closing the gap in computer science education empowers young women to build the future they want.”
The first year of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course debut, and participation is on the rise. In 2020, more than 116,000 students took the AP CSP Exam — more than double the number of exam takers in the course’s first year, and a 21 percent increase over the previous year. In 2020, 39,570 women took the AP CSP exam, nearly three times the number who tested in 2017.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is critical to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to drive innovation, creativity, and representation. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240 in May 2019. However, a code.org analysis of 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds women represent just 24 percent of the 5 million people in computing occupations.