High School Receives Women’s Diversity in Computer Science Award

Members of Manchester Township High School’s AP Computing class receive instruction from their Maths and Computing teacher Rachel Kelly. (Photo courtesy of Manchester Schools)

MANCHESTER — The township high school recently received the College Board’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in the AP Computer Science principles.

Schools awarded the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access to AP computer science classes. Last year, Manchester was one of 760 schools recognized for achieving 50% or more female representation in the AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) category.

MTHS Director Dennis Adams remarked that “We are proud to congratulate our AP Computer Science students and their Math and Computer Science teacher, Rachel Kelly, for this step towards gender parity in the teaching of computer science. ‘computer science”.

“We are honored that our school has achieved this distinction and we look forward to seeing these young women and others pursue and succeed in teaching and careers in computer science.” Adams added.

According to College Board research data, female students who take the AP CSP in high school are more than five times more likely to major in computer science in college, compared to female students of similar educational background and preparation who did not. followed the CSP. These findings underscore the importance for schools nationwide to achieve gender parity in AP computer science classrooms.

Photo courtesy of Manchester Schools

In May 2020, the median annual salary for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250. However, a code.org analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2017 reveals that women make up only 24% of the five million people in IT occupations.

IT jobs are the number one source of new wages in the United States. Although 67% of all new STEM jobs are in computer science, only 11% of bachelor’s degrees in STEM are in computer science.

“By encouraging young women to pursue advanced computer science courses, Manchester Township High School is closing the gap in computer science education and empowering young women to access available opportunities in career fields. STEM,” Stefanie Sanford, Board Head of Global and External Policy. Relationships said.

Kelly recently spoke to her students about the award and how the program has benefited them. She said The Manchester Times that the responses she received were inspiring.

“I feel smarter after taking this course because I didn’t even know how to read code, and now I can read and write code,” said student Kaila Rosario.

Her classmate, Princess Sison, said, “Knowing that women are a minority allows me to pursue a future in computing.”

“It’s great that women are getting the credit they deserve,” student Julianna Griffith said.

“New avenues have been opened up for me since taking this course,” remarked colleague Jenna Faccone.

Student Lyndsey Vigna said, “I am now able to choose a specific area of ​​IT as my career goal. I hadn’t realized how many different avenues there were to take.

“I have much more confidence in myself in a field of engineering, which is mainly dominated by men,” added student Brooke Kuhmichel.

Student Hailey Sales said, “After taking this course, I can make more informed decisions about my future.”

Manchester Secondary School Principal Dennis Adams speaks about the Women’s Diversity Award in IT at a recent school board meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

Kelly said, “Teaching the principles of AP Computer Science has opened my eyes to the vast amount of opportunities that await students in the future. I am still teaching myself the ins and outs of computing and am constantly impressed with the progress and excellence of my students. »

“It is unfortunate that women are underrepresented in the field, but I am so proud that we are being recognized for beginning to close the gender gap. I will continue to empower students from all backgrounds to pursue computer classes, which can, in turn, open up an avalanche of new experiences and opportunities,” Kelly added.

The teacher also said The Manchester Times, that “we are starting a WiSTEM (Women in Stem) chapter at MTHS and we had our first meeting. We had 16 young women attend and the interest is growing.

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