Forum 2017: The Impact of AP Computer Science on Students’ Lives
Forum 2017: The Impact of AP Computer Science on Students’ LivesMaria Alcon-Heraux, Director, Communications
Since the launch of AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) in 2016, the number of African-American, Hispanic, female, and rural students in AP computer science has doubled. There is no question that the demand for this course is overwhelming; but what was also evident in a Forum session titled “AP Computer Science Principles: Engaging All Students” is that the course has had a huge impact on students nationwide.
At the Wednesday session, led by Maureen Reyes, Executive Director for the AP Program, two students and a teacher from Wings Academy High School in the Bronx in New York City talked about how the course motivated all of them to find solutions together. (All three were also interviewed earlier this year, for a new AP CSP video.)
Mariama, an 11th grader, who is now a teacher assistant for the AP CSP class this year, said she wanted to quit the course at first, but her teacher Donald Saint-Germaine wouldn’t let her and encouraged her to stay.
“AP CSP helps you become more creative and find different steps to solving a problem,” Mariama said during the panel. She said she wanted to prove that girls can do the same things boys can do, and she hopes to take what she’s learned into a career in forensic science or medicine.
For Ocean, a senior at Wings Academy, the course gave him the chance to challenge himself in an area he loved: technology.
“This course, it forces me to think, and it shows me what I could do,” Ocean said. “Before, I didn’t think technology was something I would be able to do. Now, I want to continue doing it, because I can always find a different way of doing something.”
Both students gave their teacher Donald Saint-Germaine a lot of credit for their success in the course. Saint-Germaine told the crowd how he was an English Language Arts teacher for more than six years before; he decided to pursue teaching computer science because he saw the benefits it would have on his students.
“The most exciting moments for me in the classroom are when students take the initiative to solve a problem because they are passionate about the work they are doing,” said Saint-Germaine. “I think schools should teach AP CSP because it opens the doors to all students.”
Ocean said he found AP CSP so interesting he would stay up until 2:00 am to complete a task because he felt so passionate about it. “Technology is in everything,” he said.