A digital award that reads 2022 AP Computer Science Principles Female Diversity Award

SMUS recently earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for helping make a historically male-dominated industry more accessible to young women. The award is given to schools where at least 50% of students who took the AP Computer Science Principles exam (AP CSP) in 2022 identify as female.

Denise Lamarche, Director of Academics, says she's really proud of the intentional work that's been done beginning at the Junior School, and well-supported through the Middle and Senior Schools, to offer diverse learning experiences to all students.

"When I look across our K-12 program, I'm pleased to see a shift towards students taking courses that go against old stereotypes," she says. "The beauty of a school like ours is that we start introducing students to a broad program at a young age that allows them to discover their strengths and their interests. It's about who they are as individuals, feeding their passions and hooking them from a young age."

According to research from the College Board, which runs the Advanced Placement program, "female students who take AP CSP in high school are more than five times as likely to major in computer science in college, compared to female students of similar background and academic preparation who did not take CSP."

Just 33% of AP CSP students globally are female, highlighting how underrepresented women are in computer sciences.

Peter Steed, who teaches SMUS's AP CSP course, says he, too, has been amazed to see the number of girls taking the course increase, as it reflects a crucial step taken to overcoming that underrepresentation.

"This is a really important evolution that we hope makes a big difference. We hope that when any student walks past a classroom – regardless of the course – and looks in and sees a balance and diversity of people in there, it shows them that they are welcome there."