Posted: Friday, January 21, 2022

Blue Ridge High School and Wade Hampton High School have earned the College Board AP® 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.

More than 1,000 institutions 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 2020-21 school year. In 2021, Blue Ridge and Wade Hampton High Schools were among 16 schools in South Carolina to be recognized in the category of AP Computer Science Principles (CSP).

“This award is indicative of the mindset that exist within the walls of our school. We wholeheartedly believe the school, family, and community must share the educational responsibility of our children. We believe and understand that access to high level instruction pushes students to unknown levels--and they deserve it. I am super proud of our AP Computer Science Teacher, Mrs. Meredith Smith, for delivering on the promise of equitable educational access for our students. She represents our faculty and staff who are committed to a strong focus on student-centered learning,” said Dr. Carlos Grant, principal of Wade Hampton High School.

“In today's world, computer science touches all industries and is a part of our daily lives.  Increasing diversity in computer science is important as young minds with varying backgrounds,  interests, passions, and abilities can address significant societal issues as well as develop new technologies in art, music, health care, entertainment and so much more.  The most rewarding part of teaching computer science is seeing a student's excitement when they create their own app or program on a topic that is important in their lives,” Blue Ridge High School principal Reena Watson said.   

Providing female students with access to computer science courses is critical to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and to driving innovation, creativity, and representation. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020. However, a analysis of 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds women represent just 24% of the five million people in computing occupations. Computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the U.S., although 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing, only 11% of STEM bachelor’s degrees are in computer science.

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