Prospect Hill Academy Charter School (PHA) has earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in both AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles.
Out of the 20,000 schools worldwide that offer AP courses, PHA is one of only 56 to be recognized for closing the gender gap in both AP computer science courses.
Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award had 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses, Computer Science A and Computer Science Principles, during the 2019-2020 school year.
“PHA has successfully achieved diversity in its computer science program through positive reinforcement that computer science is for all students, including students of color and girls. The program at PHA provides students with a broad array of exciting and engaging project-based learning activities. Furthermore, we provide access to extra-curricular opportunities at tech companies in nearby Kendall Square, which serve as a tangible link to the real world and allow students to visualize themselves in the STEM fields,” said Ruth Farmery, PHA’s Director of K-12 Computer Science.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary to ensuring gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs. However, much progress remains to be made as to date women represent a mere 24% of the 5 million employees in this sector.
That’s why new College Board research about AP CSP is so encouraging. According to the data, female students who take AP CSP in high school are more than 5 times as likely to major in computer science in college, compared to similar female students who did not take CSP. The study also finds AP CSP students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP CSA, and that for most students, AP CSP serves as a stepping-stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework.
Prospect Hill Academy female computer science students Victoria, Syalomee (now a class of 2020 alum), and Lavanya in January 2020 after they won the Congressional App Challenge in Massachusetts’ 7th district.
Prospect Hill Academy (PHA) is one of the oldest and largest Massachusetts charter public schools. Located in Somerville and Cambridge, the school serves 1,100 students in grades K to 12 from diverse racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. 57% are black, 21% are Hispanic, 11% are white, 7% are Asian, and 4% are of mixed or other races. 64% are low-income, and 44% come from homes where English is not the primary language spoken.
PHA is a college preparatory school, with 95% of PHA graduates matriculating to college each year (most being the first in their families to do so). PHA has consistently placed in the top 4% of all U.S. high schools per U.S. News & World Report.