Oak Knoll Earns Third-Consecutive AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

For the third-consecutive year, Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child has earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for expanding girls’ access to AP Computer Science.

The award acknowledges 1,119 schools for their work toward equal gender representation during the 2019-20 school year — nearly 37 percent more than the 818 schools recognized last year.

Oak Knoll is one of only 56 schools to be recognized for achieving this result in both AP Computer Science A and Computer Science Principles courses for 2020.

Overall, research shows that female students who take AP Computer Science are more likely to major in computer science in college compared with matched peers.

Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary 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.

Through diversifying computer science education, schools including Oak Knoll are preparing its females students for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future and giving them the opportunity to solve some of society’s most challenging problems.

Danielle Coiro, Oak Knoll Upper School computer science teacher, said there is an underrepresentation of women in high school, college, and graduate school programming classes and in the work force.

“In my own personal experience in college, it was very common for me to either be the only girl or one of few in a computer programming class,” said Coiro. “This type of atmosphere can be intimidating for someone just starting out in programming. So, it is helpful for girls to be exposed to programming earlier on (elementary, middle, high school) when the environment is comfortable and nurturing, especially in the all-girls’ setting we have. This way if they choose to take the next step, they have already had the exposure to programming and can go into any setting with the confidence to succeed.”

Oak Knoll senior Jodie De Jesus ’21, currently enrolled in AP Computer Science A, is particularly interested in the problem-solving aspect of coding,

“I’m grateful to experience classes like this one at Oak Knoll,” she said. “It’s so inspiring and empowering to be surrounded by girls and taught by female teachers who are all equally as passionate about STEM and computer science as I am.”

Paula Sefia ’22 has wanted to take a computer science class at Oak Knoll ever since her freshman year in high school. Now enrolled in AP Computer Science Principles at Oak Knoll, Sefia loves what the course has to offer.

“Oak Knoll’s curriculum prepares young women to pursue a career in computer science, if they choose to do so, by teaching the fundamentals of coding in a fun and interactive way,” she said.

Earlier this school year, Sefia snagged a first place award in a local Hackathon, designed to inspire students, especially girls, to work collaboratively and improve their programming skills by building a functional product in one day.

Click here for more information about Oak Knoll School’s Computer Science program.

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