Alexaundra Robles from Eastlake High and Francisco Nolasco from Americas High | Photos courtesy SISD

Eastlake, Americas teachers win 2020 AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

Two teachers in the Socorro Independent School District have earned the 2020 AP Computer Science Female Diversity award from College Board for their efforts in bridging the gender gap and expanding access for female students in computer science classes.

SISD Career and Technical Education teachers Alexaundra Robles from Eastlake High School and Francisco Nolasco from Americas High School won the award for their work at their respective schools to promote and enroll female students in technology courses during the 2019-2020 school year.

“Computer science and careers within that field is very male dominant,” Robles said. “We are trying to break that stereotype of females not being able to enjoy or excel at computer science for their futures.”

Robles said the educators in the School of Advanced Technology Applications (SATA) advanced academic academy at Eastlake High School recruit at the middle school level for their computer science program.

They focus on inspiring female students to consider the computer science academy to ensure that all students feel welcomed and encouraged to apply, she said.

“This award shows that we are closing the gap in gender representation,” said SISD CTE facilitator Veronica De Avila. “We at the CTE department are proud to support the professional development teachers at SISD receive to teach the curriculum.”

Nolasco, who teaches engineering courses at Americas High School, said he recognizes diversity issues within both engineering and computer science programs.

“I try to do everything that I can to bring diversity to these programs,” Nolasco said.

Last year, the ratio between males and females in the computer science program was 50:50, which was what qualified him and Americas High School for the award, he said.

The AP Computer Science Female Diversity award recognizes schools who have either reached 50 percent or higher female examinee representation in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) and/or AP Computer Science A (AP CSA).

With SATA and many computer science and engineering courses available at high schools across the district, Team SISD is working to ensure all students have access to advanced academic opportunities in technology classes.

Some 1,000 schools nationwide were recognized by the College Board for their work toward equal gender representation last year, nearly 37 percent more than the 818 schools recognized the previous year.

“I am so proud,” De Avila said. “This just goes to show the quality of teachers we have at SISD, they are so caring to their students and work so hard to make sure they are career and college ready.”