Cabrini gets female diversity nod for computer science

Cabrini High School has earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Cabrini is one of 685 acknowledged among the more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, and among only  490 schools earning the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science Principles.

Teacher Caitlin Duplantier was instrumental in initiating the AP computer science principles course at Cabrini, where she has taught for four years. She first taught Cabrini’s computer applications elective, prior to the College Board beginning an AP course that sampled several programming languages, instead of focusing solely and deeply on one language.

“Receiving this recognition was very surreal,” Duplantier said. “Over the past three years of teaching computer science, not only have I learned a lot, but I think the students who took the class really enjoyed experiencing the field of computer science that most of them had no experience with. I think that’s what this award is really about, allowing students, specifically female students, the opportunity to get involved in a field they probably would not have experienced otherwise. I’m happy to be a small part of making that possible.”

Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have either 50% or higher female representation in one of two AP computer science courses or a percentage of female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding the school’s female population.

“We’re honored by this recognition and are proud of our female students studying computer science for their achievements,” Cabrini principal Yvonne Hrapmann said.  “Caitlin has demonstrated initiative during the implementation and growth of the AP Computer Science course.  She has the passion and desire to expose our young women to the opportunities for this growing and in-demand field for females.”

Cabrini senior Kennedi White said the course exceeded her expectations when she took it.

“There’s not many women in the field of computer science; that’s why it’s so important that Cabrini has given students the option to take AP Computer Science,”  White said. “I learned several programming languages, created games and a website and earned college credit. It was by far one of my favorite AP courses that I have taken at Cabrini High School.”

“By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, Cabrini has taken a significant step toward preparing students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities,” said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program. “We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation.”

Duplantier said before Computer Science Principles, “the only computer science AP courses were pretty intense and required a lot of previous knowledge and practice. I believe the AP Computer Science Principles course was created to increase interest and involvement of varying students in the field of computer science.”

Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity and competition.

“I enjoyed making my own codes and programming my own websites and games,” Cabrini junior Jen Bru said. “The process of creating original programs was really interesting to me, and the class overall piqued my interest in pursuing jobs in the near future in the computer science field.”

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