Lower Merion High School computer science teacher Tom Swope was recently named the Philadelphia region's recipient of The Aspirations in Computing Educator Award, which celebrates teachers who promote gender equity in computing and encourage young women to explore their interest in technology. Over the past four years, more than 160 educators have been recognized for their efforts and have received more than $150,000 in professional development funding to improve their computing education skills.
Throughout his time at Lower Merion, Swope has worked to develop a variety of programs and activities with the goal of increasing student involvement in computing, including taking students to District elementary schools to teach fifth graders how to code; starting a student-led, multi-school programming competition; bringing students to the University of Pennsylvania's Women in Computer Science day for high school girls; and welcoming female and minority professionals from the community to speak to his classes. Over the last four years, Swope has helped grow enrollment in computer science courses from 27 students to more than 200 students. During this time, female enrollment increased from just one female student to more than 60.
Swope has also worked with the District's Strategic Planning Transformative Curriculum team to develop a K-12 computer science curriculum ensuring all students will be exposed to computer science. His involvement in the Strategic Planning process inspired him to organize the recent "Code.Design.Story." event - an interdisciplinary endeavor promoting collaboration between the arts and sciences through the creation, design and launch of mobile applications.