By Kathy Chouteau
Pinole’s Spartan ladies are representing in the sciences. This week, the College Board honored Pinole Valley High School with its AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for attaining high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles, according to the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD). The award honors those schools which have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses.
Last year, Pinole Valley was also recognized as one of 831 honorees in the AP Computer Science Principles category.
“Pinole Valley’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 debut of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course debut, according to the WCCUSD, and participation, especially among females, is on the rise. In 2020, 39,570 young women took the AP Computer Science Principle exam, nearly three times the number who tested in 2017.
Given that women constitute a mere 24 percent of the five million people in computing occupations, per a 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis, offering female students access to computer science courses is essential to ensuring gender equality in the industry’s high paying jobs. As of May 2019, the median annual salary for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240.
Amid this data, it’s all the more imperative that schools nationwide achieve gender parity in AP Computer Science classrooms. The 1,119 schools that receive this year’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award should serve as inspirations and models for all American high schools, stated the WCCUSD in its report.
Learn more about Pinole Valley High School here.