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Scheck Hillel Earns College Board AP® Computer Science Award

Scheck Hillel has earned the College Board Advanced Placement AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award in AP Computer Science Principles: an honor attained for two consecutive years. Scheck Hillel is the only Jewish day school in Florida to earn this recognition.

Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses in 2020, Scheck Hillel was recognized for having 50% or higher female exam taker representation in AP Computer Science Principles.

“We’re very proud to have received this important award once again,” said Vanessa Donaher, Head of Scheck Hillel Community School. “As a school, we give our students opportunities to pursue their passions and maximize achievement. One example is how we have invested in growing our Design/STEM program by leaps and bounds in recent years. Scheck Hillel's emphasis on Design/STEM from early childhood through high school, coupled with our high school STEM track and clubs like Girls Building STEAM, have powered an increase in acceptances to college engineering programs.”  

Providing female students with access to computer science courses is necessary to ensure gender parity in high-paying technology jobs and to drive innovation, creativity, and competition. A 2014 Google study found that women are more likely to pursue computer science if they are given the opportunity to explore it in high school. At Scheck Hillel, 80% of the Design/STEM faculty is female, providing successful role models in the field.

Stefanie Sanford, College Board chief of global policy and external relations, said, “Scheck Hillel is closing the gap in computer science education so young women can build the future they want.”

Design/STEM at Scheck Hillel Community School starts as young as early childhood education (ECE) and progresses through Grade 12. In ECE, Design/STEM is taught in the classrooms through science lessons and project-based learning. Kindergarten-Grade 5 students also go to the campus I Lab: a dedicated space for inspiration and innovation designed to extend classroom learning in an environment that promotes collaboration and experimentation. There, students engage in developmentally sequenced activities with a focus on coding and robotics, social studies and digital literacy. 

In Grades 6-12, the school’s Multimedia Maker Lab is the hub for Design/STEM education. Scheck Hillel offers an intensive 4-year high school Design/STEM track of hands-on laboratory courses, including Engineering, Engineering & Entrepreneurship and more than one computer science class, designed to mimic work environments in the real world. Applications for this program open for rising Grade 9 students every spring.