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Shelby County Schools Joins BootUp PD and Amazon Future Engineer Elementary Coding Initiative

April 26 2021 · By BootUp PD

District Recognized for Providing Rigorous and Engaging Curriculum for All Students Welcomes Equity-driven, Computer Science Learning in K-5

April 26, 2021, MEMPHIS, TN. - Shelby County Schools (SCS) is about to complete its first year as part of the multi-year BootUp and Amazon Future Engineer initiative that introduces computer science literacy to all K-5 students. The emphasis on computer science at the elementary level is new in Memphis, where so many students are on the “have-not” side of the digital divide - and where, historically, school, library, and community initiatives in computer science have focused on middle and high school students. The ultimate goal is to arm SCS K-5 students with essential success tools that are, and always will be, in high-demand well into the future.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Shelby County Schools on their Amazon Future Engineer computer science sponsorship and have been extremely impressed with the level of commitment from their teachers,” said BootUp Facilitator, McKay Perkins. “In the midst of the pandemic, they have committed to learning an entirely new set of skills - and with genuine enthusiasm. To me, that enthusiasm is a clear indicator of their ability to use programming and CS to positively and transformatively influence the lives and futures of their elementary students.”

Monica C. Smith, SCS CCTE Middle Grades Manager, added “We are very excited about the partnership with Amazon and BootUp which has allowed us to expose approximately 4,500 elementary students, 41 teachers and 36 schools to computer science experiences. Learning to code supports problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. This incredible opportunity has allowed our students to become creators, not just consumers, of the technology all around them.”

Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try computer science. Through this program, Amazon is funding computer science education and teacher professional development in districts across the country. This effort helps expand the number of qualified educators in each district, builds broader programming capacity, and targets additional stability and sustainability for computer science education at participating schools.

With BootUp, coding is elementary for ALL students. BootUp’s professional development and support is customized to each district’s unique needs. Teachers district-wide learn how to engage students with easy-to-use, block-based programming languages (ScratchJr and Scratch) to create interactive stories, animations, games, art, music, and more through problem solving and other fundamental computer science practices. BootUp programs require no prior coding experience and include interest-driven, no-cost curricula that continue in perpetuity after the three-year implementation is complete.

About BootUp Professional Development
BootUp PD is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit specializing in district-wide elementary computer science initiatives that focus on creativity and problem-solving. Since 2015, BootUp has worked with over 477 elementary schools in seventeen states, directly impacting over 1,500 educators and 150,000 students. BootUp prepares teachers to facilitate open-ended coding projects that are project-based and personally meaningful in the free platforms Scratch and ScratchJr. Students are empowered with creative and interactive curricula that allow them to explore their personal interests through coding with design, music, animation, games, or stories.

About Shelby County Schools
One of the largest districts in the nation, Shelby County Schools (SCS) is a public school district that serves the city of Memphis, Tennessee, as well as the unincorporated areas of Shelby County. SCS provides a rigorous and engaging curriculum to support the Superintendent's strategic goals for college and career readiness. The District’s mission is rooted in the belief that effective teachers and school leaders make the greatest impact on student achievement. Throughout the District, empowering parents and other stakeholders to be involved in the education of students is seen as essential in making the community as a whole stronger, successful and future-success-oriented for all students.

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