‘Girls Who Code’ at North Shore bridge tech gap


Woodmere resident Arielle Rothman and Shani Kahan of Great Neck, juniors at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, helped to establish the Girls Who Code Club at the Great Neck school this year, and 17 students were the first to complete the club’s curriculum on June 9. They received a completion certificate and a small gift.

Girls Who Code is a national organization whose mission is to close the gender gap in technology. They offer curriculum for clubs during the year as well as a seven-week summer immersion program. 

At the beginning of the school year, Rothman and Kahan asked Director of Educational Technology Robin Wilensky if she would be the club’s adviser/instructor. Wilensky already runs Females in Computer Science and Information Technology, and she readily agreed.

The young women got the ball rolling and recruited students from all grade levels, two dozen students in all.

“I am really pleased with how successful the program is,” Wilensky said. “The girls come at their lunch hour and work at home to complete tasks and they are extremely dedicated and motivated to succeed.

“The Girls Who Code program has added significantly to our extensive computer science curriculum at the school.”  

North Shore is one of only a handful of schools on Long Island offering this program. Rothman and Kahan also mentor the younger students as they progress through the course.

The girls in the program learn Python programming in the first year and continue to learn more complex technologies as they continue through high school.

With 75 percent of the students completing the course and the rest pledging to do so over the summer, the school considers this program to be a huge success. In addition it has proven to be a great feeder program for the higher level courses that the school offers including Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A and the brand new AP Computer Science Principles course.