MIDDLEBURY — Westover School has earned the first College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A.

Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses.

Westover is one of only 685 out of 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that received this distinction.

“Westover is thrilled to receive the College Board’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award. We work each and every day to instill not only a coveted skillset in our students but a passion for learning that will serve them well beyond their time on our campus. I appreciate receiving this award and thank our talented faculty for their commitment to our students and to Westover,” said Head of School Julie Faulstich.

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

Only 167 schools earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science A.

“By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, Westover has taken a significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities.

“We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation,” said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program.

AP Computer Science A students learn to design and implement computer programs that solve problems relevant to today’s society.

AP computer science course participation increased 135 percent since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students.

The number of female, rural and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.

Westover students have been taking the AP computer science exam since the early 1990s, when the school first established its groundbreaking Women in Science and Engineering program.

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.

According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics data, less than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women; in North America and Western Europe, it’s just 32 percent.

Research shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they’re given the opportunity to explore it in high school.

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