Increasing the Number of Women in STEM

District High Schools Recognized For Working to Increase the Number of Young Women in STEM
Posted on 02/09/2021
Student working in robotics

Pahokee Middle-Senior High School and Park Vista Community High School both recently earned the College Board's AP Computer Science Principles Female Diversity Award. The honor is one way the schools are being recognized for their commitment to increasing the participation of female students in science-related fields.

“We have an obligation as educators to inform, promote, and engage all students in the sciences so that they are prepared to fulfill their academic and career journey in the sciences should they so choose to do so,” said Reginald Myers, the principal at Park Vista High. “As science and technology advances are made, women are a crucial component to these advances.”

“We want to make sure that we build a strong academic foundation in our female students so that they will be prepared to build upon their education,” said Dwayne Dennard, the principal at Pahokee Middle-Senior High. “That will open limitless opportunities for them to change not only our community outlook but the world we all live in.”

Beginning in middle school, female students at Pahokee Middle-Senior High take part in a variety of STEM-related classes, programs, and activities. Sixth graders can enroll in robotics classes, where many of the students excel using programs such as Tynker, an educational platform designed to help children learn programming as well as develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

“Overcoming obstacles, adapting to change, and keeping an eye on the new technology becoming available for careers is a must for our students to succeed,” said Sonia Soto, the school’s magnet coordinator. “We will continue to innovate and bring courses that will help our diverse students succeed in career and technical education courses as well as STEM-related courses.”

The robotics classes have proven effective at furthering the goal of increasing the involvement of female students in STEM. In February 2020, an all-girls team of 10 Pahokee middle school students competed in the regional robotics competition.

“More girls are stepping up in STEM-related areas due to the changing times and the exposure we are giving them here at the middle and high school,” Soto said. “We feel that in developing our students in varied fields, we also help to develop the future of the community in the Glades as a whole.”

Park Vista High offers an extensive number of career and accelerated coursework, placing emphasis on equity, access, and experiential gains for all students. The school offers 18 Advanced Placement (AP) and 17 Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) courses, in addition to being home to three choice academies: Automotive, Medical, and Multimedia.

“Walk into any of our classrooms and you will be immediately enthralled in how stimulating and enthusiastic our teachers and students are as they delve into the content,” said Alysia Pavilonis, the school’s teacher assessment coordinator. “School counselors also make sure to meet with each of their students and individualize their paths to the student's future aspirations.”

Students are seeing the value, possibilities, and correlation between their curriculum and top careers. As students succeed in STEM coursework and pass AP and AICE exams, they are realizing their capabilities, which motivates them to make the most of the District’s extensive, valuable program offerings.

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