Sherwood high school teachers John Neibergall and Jon Dickover share more than a first name: in adjoining classrooms they teach engineering and construction, respectively, two subjects which traditionally attract a much higher percentage of male students than females.
Unsatisfied with the low numbers of young women enrolled in their engineering classes, John and Jon put their heads together to come up with a solution. They looked at the research behind recruiting female students into nontraditional subjects. They examined the population they were serving: a vibrant and social school of over a thousand students in a tight-knit community. They talked to the young women already in enrolled in their classes.
They decided the best way to introduce female students to a potentially intimidating subject was to create a new class just for them. They gave it a catchy name: No Boyz Allowed. They set up a recruitment table during lunch periods and asked current female engineering students to show off cool projects and answer questions from curious passersby. Engaging prospective students one-on-one is proved to be a simple but powerful strategy: suddenly Sherwood High School students were seeing enthusiastic proof that girls could thrive in high tech classes.
Their hard work paid off: the first NBA class filled up. And then a second one.
Word of mouth from current students will likely popularize the program even more. Many of the students from this introductory class will move into more advanced engineering classes. From there they can pursue college educations and high wage jobs in a high tech field in desperate need of more women.
All thanks to two amazing teachers at Sherwood High School.
Extra Credit: Be sure to check out this great video, created by an NBA student, documenting some of the adventures the class has had so far!