PATERSON, NJ – Already a district recognized for strong female leadership, Paterson Public Schools got another boost in March when International High School received the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Female Diversity Award.

Paterson Public Schools is headed by Superintendent Eileen Shafer and Deputy Superintendent Susana Perón, as well as Board of Education President Oshin Castillo and Vice President Nakima Redmon.

The award, given to schools that have either 50 percent or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses, was made in recognition of the school’s having a majority-female class in the AP Computer Science Principles course during the 2017-2018 school year. Of the 33 students who were enrolled in the class that year, 21 were female.

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Only 490 schools nationwide earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science Principles.

“It is certainly gratifying to be recognized for enabling young women to make great strides in a field that has been statistically shown to be male dominated.  I salute the young women who followed their interests in taking a challenging AP course in computer science,” Shafer said. “I want to thank the students’ principal, teacher and all of the administrators who helped launch the district’s first AP Computer Science Principles course, and making this opportunity available to our students.”

“The students who enroll in AP Computer Science know they are signing up for a challenge, and the College Board’s recognition proves that there are plenty of young women in Paterson who are up for that challenge,” said IHS’ International Baccalaureate Program Principal Catherine Forfia-Dion.

David Lakind, AP Computer Science Principles teacher was also praised by both Schafer and Forfia-Dion. Prior to the course being offered in 2016 Lakind undertook the required professional development, which, in addition to the necessary class devices, was acquired with the help of donations from Infosys Foundation USA. The organization responded to Lakind’s posts on DonorsChoose,org, a non-profit website that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects.

While studies show that less than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women, a number only slightly higher among research professionals in North America and Western Europe, Paterson Public Schools are continuing to do their part to provide female students with access to computer science courses, and ultimately the industry’s high-paying jobs that drives innovation, creativity, and competition.

These efforts, as previously reported, include launching the AP Capstone Diploma Program in September, which will enable students to develop research, collaboration, and communication skills to help them achieve success in college and in their careers, in 12 high schools.


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