San Angelo ISD and Central High School proudly announce that CHS has earned the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. CHS is one of only 30 schools in the entire state of Texas to receive the award, and the only one in West Texas. In this week’s Future Ready Friday feature, we celebrate how at CHS student hopes and dreams are supported through empowering young women with an interest in computer science and expanding opportunities to expose all students to the possibilities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.
In Ms. Nancy Thompson’s Computer Science class, she hopes for her students to “move beyond being consumers of technology to being creators of technology.” Computer science is evident in our digitized world from our smartphones to medicine to popular video games and social applications. At CHS, computer science students are learning to understand how computing and technology influences the world around us, and how to creatively address real-world issues with technology. In the AP course, students take college-level computing course work and have the opportunity to earn college credit. And, as evidenced by the award from the College Board, CHS is also excelling at engaging female students in computer science - a field with typically more men than women and recognized for growing opportunities for success and high-paying jobs.
"I think it is super cool to see women getting involved in computer science since it is typically a male-dominated field, and bringing ideas to the table that are as respected as our male peers," said CHS Senior Ellie Barker. “I plan on majoring in Biomedical Engineering in college, so I know being well-versed in computer science will be beneficial for my future."
The AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award is earned by schools that have achieved either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science exam takers meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population during the school year. SAISD and CHS are proud to empower young women with an interest in computer science, and celebrate and look forward to our students’ future successes. Young women who take the course in high school are more than five times as likely to major in computer science in college, compared to female students of similar background and academic preparation who did not take the class. Computer science courses can lead to a variety of careers not just programming but also software development, data science, computer engineering, web development and information technology.
Ms. Thompson attributes the diversity award to a culture of educator encouragement of students to recruit peers with an interest in the course paired with the appeal of the topic of the course.
“They learn things that they don’t get exposed to on a regular basis. It always surprises me when students come up with outside the box solutions… I get to see how differently students think about solving problems.”
One assignment Ms. Thompson highlights as part of AP Computer Science Principles is Create Task. In Create Task students create a computer program, as well as a video and written response to accompany it.
“Create Task is one of my favorites. That is when I get to see what students can come up with based on what we have learned through the year. We practice this skill several times in class before they begin working on their task for the College Board. It is always good to see what they can imagine and design,” said Ms. Thompson.
Students in computer science courses learn various aspects of computer science like designing, implementing, and measuring the effectiveness of computer-based systems, processes, components, or programs, and modeling and designing computer-based systems using mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, computer science theories, and problem-solving skills.
“Using problem solving to build applications is very rewarding,” said CHS Senior Camille Holle. “I plan to become an Architect, and I know how important technology is in that field. I am proud to begin learning those skills early in my academic career."
SAISD and CHS are proud of the outstanding work CHS is doing to engage more female students in computer science as well as supporting all students' pursuit of their future-ready goals.
Future Ready Fridays
At San Angelo ISD, we are committed to our mission of engaging all students in a relevant and inspiring education that produces future-ready graduates. We value the hopes and dreams of each child, and along their educational journey, provide students customizable options to prepare for their future. In celebration of this commitment in action, SAISD launched our “Future Ready Fridays” features in 2021 that will generally be shared on the third Friday of every month. Each Future Ready Friday we will feature different ways the District is supporting our students and helping them to be “future-ready” whether that future is the military, workplace, further academic studies or other opportunities. Join along by sharing ways your San Angelo ISD student is being prepared for their future by using the hashtag #FutureReadyatSAISD.