I am pleased to extend my congratulations to the faculty and staff of Foxcroft School,” wrote U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia. “Your focused efforts to give young women the opportunity to develop computer science skills will help bridge the gender gap in the field in the coming years. I commend you for this important work and your dedication to helping your students succeed.”

Foxcroft is one of only six schools in Virginia, and 490 worldwide, to earn the AP Computer Science Principles Female Diversity Award. Schools receiving the Award have either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population. 

“This recognition is a proud moment for Foxcroft,” said Head of School Cathrine S. McGehee. “Our school is leading the way in STEM education for girls by encouraging our students in record numbers to participate in computer science. The technology field is one where women continue to be underrepresented and efforts such as ours can make a difference.”

Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, only 685 have accomplished this.

“By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, Foxcroft School has taken a significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities,” said Trevor Packer, College Board Senior Vice President of the AP Program. “We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation.”

AP computer science course participation has increased worldwide by 135% since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students. The number of female, rural, and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.

Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity, and competition. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women; in North America and Western Europe, it’s just 32%. Research shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they’re given the opportunity to explore it in high school.