AP Computer Science provides career readiness

Course enrollment increases


Cathedran file photo

Students and parents will be able to check school email on June 1 to access second semester grades.

Charlie Vielee, Reporter

One of the newest Advanced Placement courses offered by the College Board is Computer Science Principles, a class intended to introduce a more diverse enrollment to STEM. 

And that is exactly what has occurred here. 

This class is being offered for the second year and has resulted in a good split between the diverse student body. The first year, four seniors — two males and two females —  took the class. There has been some growth this year and now 11 students are currently taking the class. Even this year there is almost an even division between boys and girls, with six boys and five girls. This year there are even a sophomore and junior in the class. 

CSP teacher Ms. Ria Pereira said, “It is good to see that it is growing.” Even though there has been some solid development in the class, there is still only the one class offered to students here. However, Pereira expects to see more growth in popularity of this class in the future. Pereira said, “They have removed the fright of computer science. (Students in the class) talk about the internet and data and how to code and share images.”

Students have become more intertwined with the world of technology yet some still do not possess the full understanding of how to be safe on the internet. Pereira teaches the ins and outs of the internet. Whether it comes to making safe passwords or coding and sharing images, AP Computer Science Principles provides students with the knowledge of how to be more adept with technology.

AP Computer Science Principles is not just a class for programming. As a matter of fact, the College Board first offered CSP as an alternative to a programming-based course. Pereira said for those students taking this class, they do not need to leave behind their passions for other subjects. The class teaches how to take an interest to another level that goes beyond what students already know. 

In this class, students can take whatever desire and make a project out of it. Whether it be business, fashion or medicine, there will be a way to incorporate it into this class.

Pereira said, “Computer science assists in taking your passions to a new level and it becomes a whole new dimension.” Combining this class along with the other core classes that are required will allow students to develop a deeper understanding and become more empowered in what they know and say, she said. 

When some people hear about the class AP Computer Science Principles, their minds may go to math and running complicated programs. However, AP Computer Science does not delve too deeply into complex math. In fact, the only prerequisite to take this class is Algebra I. Pereira said, “As long as the student has the knowledge of working with variables and solving for x, (that) will be sufficient. You do not need to graph or envision it.” 

And the programs used in the class itself are not all that difficult. Students will have the time to learn what they need to know and will have the help of the other students as well as Pereira. 

Pereira said, “What I admire most is that (the course) opens their minds up. It is more than just programing, and there is something for every person to get out of.”

One of those students whose mind was opened is Nandi Hawkins. To prepare for the AP test in May, Hawkins and the class made chaser games and Mad Lib programs that would allow for them to be more creative in the processes that they learn. Hawkins said she is thrilled that she decided to take the class. She said that the class has helped open her mind up to what she wants to do later in life and in college.

Hawkins said, “I never would have thought that I would know enough programming skills to create a playable game on my phone and computer.” Overall, Hawkins really enjoys the class structure and size. The learning environment is fantastic for what needs to be done and the size of the class also adds to the learning experience.