• Closing the Gender Gap in Computer Science

    Posted by Stevens Point Area Public School District on 2/8/2023

    Mrs. Kaster works with students in AP Computer Science

    Computer science remains one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand fields in today's workforce, yet it remains a male-dominated field. This can be particularly true in advanced placement (AP) computer science courses, where the number of female students is often significantly lower than the number of male students.

    AP Computer Science Student Works on Project for Course

    However, Stevens Point Area Senior High’s AP Computer Science A class was recently recognized for an impressive 45% female-student ratio as a finalist for the 2022 AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award. 

    “The achievement is not only a victory for the school, and for instructor Mrs. Kaster, but it also serves as a powerful message to other schools and educators that it is possible to close the gender gap in computer science,” said superintendent Cory Hirsbrunner. 

    AP Compter Science students reach 45% female-student ratio and national recognition

    This is a significant accomplishment and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the school's staff, students, and administration - congratulations! 

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  • Sixth Grade Students Pitch Innovative Soda Flavors to Local Business

    Posted by Stevens Point Area Public School District on 2/8/2023

    Student wait to hear which project won the Soda Pitch to Local Company, Stevens Point Brewery

    Working on their persuasive writing skills, 6th grade students at McKinley Center Elementary had the opportunity to pitch their own soda flavor ideas to the Stevens Point Brewery’s head soda maker in charge of  development and innovation. The students worked in teams to come up with unique and creative flavor combinations, as part of the writing unit.

    Students wait to hear who won the soda pitch project

    As Mrs. Schraufnagel, a 6th grade teacher at McKinley, was creating her lessons for her upcoming persuasive writing unit, she thought that maybe she could get the brewery involved in her plans.  Her husband, Mr. Schraufnagel, head soda maker at the Stevens Point Brewery, became intrigued by this idea.  He saw this as an opportunity to bring student’s ideas into the real world. 

    After students completed their projects, the essays were shared with the innovation team from the brewery. This team thought it was a great opportunity  to see the sixth graders point of view of soda flavors. Their suggestions of flavors ranged from classic favorites like grape, to more unique options like strawberry fresas con crema soda. But, in the end, there could only be one winner. And the winning flavor, as chosen by the judges, was none other than "Jack Frost Blue Raspberry."

    Winning team flavor, "Jack Frost Blue Raspberry"

    The team behind Jack Frost Blue Raspberry, Chloe Meadows and Olivia Yang, impressed the judges with their detailed creative flavor combination and conviction that the flavor would be successful in their demographic. The team had surveyed their classmates and found that blue raspberry was a popular flavor among their peers. They then paired it with the wintery name "Jack Frost" to appeal to a wide audience.

    The Stevens Point Brewery was so impressed that they are working to develop a small batch of the flavor for the class to sample as a reward for their hard work and ingenuity. The students were thrilled to have their flavor chosen and all are excited to try the final product.

    Winning students Chloe Meadow and Olivia Yang

    This experience was not only educational for the students, but it also showed the importance of thinking outside the box and taking risks. The 6th graders of McKinley Center Elementary have proven that age is just a number and that anyone can come up with the next big thing in the beverage industry and we are incredibly thankful to Mr. Schraufnagel and his team for supporting and encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit! 

    We can't wait to see what they come up with next.

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