With the current national effort to attract more females in the field of computer science, Pleasanton Unified School District congratulates Amador Valley High School for receiving the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award.
Out of 20,000 eligible schools nationwide, Amador was one of only 639 to receive this award.
“In a time when there is a nationwide push for more females in what has been historically a male-dominated field, this achievement is significant,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Janelle Woodward. “Amador Valley Computer Science teachers Richard Hanson and Kevin Kiyoi and students have fostered an incredible environment that helps encourage more students to explore the field of computer science.”
Over the past three years, Amador has seen a 10 percent increase in female student participation in computer science courses, and its computer science program has nearly doubled the number of classes offered due to overall interest.
Amador has created its computer science principles class as a survey course where students can learn about different areas of computer science that they can pursue as a career such as coding, virtual reality, robotics and game theory.
“It’s interesting to see how computer science is integrated into so many fields these days: it’s in agriculture, it’s in business - it’s very versatile and I feel that general knowledge of computer science helps,” said Amador Sophomore Alyssa Chen. “It’s also interesting because you’re taking virtually nothing and you’re pulling out the knowledge that you know and creating something that can be used. I think that’s pretty cool.”
Ms. Chen was part of the first all-girls team from Amador Valley to advance in the Regional Chevron Design Challenge last year, which is hosted by Amador Valley High School.
“I’m most inspired by the motivated, driven female students who are not letting anything stand in their path. They’re go getters,” said Amador Computer Science teacher Richard Hanson. “We’re lucky to live in a community with great family support and really inquisitive students. We try to put our students in situations where they’ll be successful that will touch a nerve and awaken something inside them.”
In addition to classes offered, Amador Computer Science teachers Kevin Kiyoi and Richard Hanson offer special events and help supervise a number of student clubs geared towards student mentoring and reaching out to the community to get students interested in the field at a younger age.
Mr. Hanson and Amador students run the ACE Coding Club, which among many other initiatives, host free events for elementary and middle school students to learn about different computer languages and aspects of coding.
Mr. Kiyoi helps lead the Girls Who Code Club on campus and has also hosted opportunities for all students to learn more about careers in computer science, and for the last two years has hosted all-female professional panels to highlight for male and female students.
“We have a very active Girls who Code club. It’s a nice way for our female students to keep coding and mentoring each other and feeling like they can succeed,” said Mr. Kiyoi, who has helped lead the Club with students for the past three years.”it’s a safe and inviting environment.”
This year, Mr. Kiyoi and the Girls Who Code Club will be hosting a day-long Girls Who Code event on March 7, 2020, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. which will be open to Pleasanton elementary and middle school students. The Club is currently looking for donations and partners to support.
Amador Valley’s Computer Science courses are part of the Pleasanton Unified School District’s focus on career technical education (CTE) through its Project Lead the Way program, coordinated by Amador Valley teacher Tony Dennis. Project Lead the Way is a national organization promoting STEM education. In PUSD, the program begins at every elementary school and builds into career pathways for students in high school, such as computer science. The program recently added a Cyber Security class at Amador Valley High School which has been very popular among students.
Please find the links below to learn more about the amazing programs and clubs mentioned above:
Amador Valley High School ACE Coding Club Website: http://acecoding.org/
Amador Valley High School Girls Who Code Club Website: https://avhsgwc.weebly.com/
PUSD Career Technical Education and Project Lead the Way Program: https://www.pleasantonusd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=296354&type=d&pREC_ID=684753
Project Lead the Way Website: https://www.pltw.org/