Sylvan Hills High School wins female diversity award for AP Computer Science

SHERWOOD, Ark. – A Sherwood AP computer science program is one of only twelve in the state to receive a College Board Women’s Diversity Award.

The AP Computer Science Principles class taught at Sylvan Hills High School received the award for the ’20-’21 school year and is expected to be honored again this year.

To be recognized, at least 50% of the course must be made up of women. For the previous Sylvan Hills class, the 13 member class had 7 girls.

Teacher James Pruitt says it comes after intensive school-wide recruitment for the course and growing interest in programming.

“I recruit to have kids in my classes,” Pruitt explained. “They bounce a ball off the screen, they blow something up, there’s all kinds of things that can happen…interest explodes, and off you go.”

He adds that the state’s computer requirement has also increased enrollment, and some schools even offer a computer assistance program that grants students funding for high scores on the AP exam, encouraging men and women to register.

Leah LeVar is a second-year student taking Pruitt’s class, her first high-level computer science course. She says she’s always been interested in coding, but wanted to explore programming for video game design or a possible post-graduate career.

“I think more women need to be in coding,” LeVar agreed when asked about the award. “I think that’s something, in general, that a lot more people should learn, but especially a lot more women.”

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