Fairmont Prep has once again been recognized as a leader in STEM instruction, this time by earning the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles (CSP). Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses.

“During an unprecedented year, Fairmont Prep female students have demonstrated perseverance and dedication in their study of AP Computer Science,” said Carolyn Lucia, Director of Education for Fairmont Schools and Head of School at Fairmont Prep. “We could not be more proud of our female students for staking their claim as the next generation of STEM and computer science professionals and we can’t wait to see their passion for next-generation technology lead to lifelong success. We are equally proud of our exceptionally qualified and highly engaged teachers, who understand the importance of expanding the reach of STEM among female students. This award would not have been possible without them.” 

“Fairmont Prep’s students need the power to shape technology, not just cope with it,” says 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.” 

Providing female students with access to computer science courses is critical 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% of the 5 million people in computing occupations.

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.

This finding makes it all the more imperative that schools nationwide achieve gender parity in AP Computer Science classrooms. Fairmont Prep serves as an inspiration and model for all American high schools, where overall, female students remain under-represented in computer science classes, comprising just 34% of AP Computer Science Principles participants.

“We are honored that Fairmont Prep has been recognized for helping to close the gender gap in STEM,” said Ms. Lucia. “At the same time, we are not surprised by this honor. Fairmont has been breaking ground in STEM education for years, as evidenced by our 2019 designation in Newsweek as Orange County’s Best Private School for STEM. We’re proud that, regardless of gender, our students take advantage of the remarkable STEM opportunities here, go on to lead in colleges, and then make significant contributions in the science fields.”

Closing The Gender Gap In Computer Science Studies