Funding from Amazon Future Engineer delivers teacher professional development and curriculum, including virtual opportunities, from BootUp PD – a nonprofit professional development provider specializing in elementary school education – that focuses on high-quality computer science concepts, practices, and standards for teachers and students
*Amazon Future Engineer program aims to bring high-quality computer science access to students from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in tech from childhood to career *
HAYWARD, Calif., Feb. 22, 2021 — The Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) is pleased announce that Amazon is funding computer science education and teacher professional development for 20 elementary schools in the district, impacting more than 10,700 students from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in tech, as part of its Amazon Future Engineer program. HUSD is part of Amazon Future Engineer’s expansion to more than 5,000 schools—nearly 1,000 of which are elementary schools.
"HUSD is thrilled to be partnering with Amazon to provide computer science education opportunities to our students,” stated HUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne. “As outlined in our strategic plan, the district’s mission is to create engaging and equitable educational experiences for our students and this collaboration allows us to do just that.”
Starting this fall, participating Hayward USD educators will have the opportunity to access resources related to this exciting new partnership.
Amazon is working with BootUp PD, a nonprofit professional development provider specializing in elementary school education, to bring computer science to each school. BootUp PD’s typically in-person professional development sessions adapt well to a virtual model and provide teachers with the tools they need to bring engaging coding lessons to their students both on-screen and in-person. High-quality computer science education for elementary school students during their school day is a critical piece of Amazon’s “childhood to career” approach because it helps bridge equity skill gaps at an age when students are just beginning to formulate ideas about their futures.
"This opportunity will close equity gaps by ensuring computer science learning opportunities for students in underserved communities throughout the nation,” said Clark Merkley, BootUp PD’s Executive Director. “It is the first ongoing national sponsorship focused on implementing sustainable, districtwide computer science. We’re extremely proud to be a part of something that will have a measurable, positive impact for decades to come.”
As part of the initiative, Amazon Future Engineer will be sponsoring micro:bit classroom packs for each district to further their students’ exposure to hands-on computer science learning opportunities. BootUp will also support teachers with additional physical computing professional development to ensure they are set up to successfully integrate the technology into student learning and allow students to see their code in a more tangible, physical way.
Amazon’s commitment to HUSD is part of its $50 million investment to increase access to computer science/STEM education across the country, primarily through Amazon Future Engineer. In addition, Amazon has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education. In California, 660 schools are already participating in the Amazon Future Engineer program.
Amazon’s primary computer science access program, Amazon Future Engineer, is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare deserving children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire 550,000 K-12 students across more than 5,000 schools to explore computer science through elementary school curriculum, middle and high school courses, and teacher professional development; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience; awards $25,000 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards, and forms unique partnerships with trusted institutions to bring new coding experiences to students. Recently Amazon, Pharrell, his education equity non-profit YELLOW, and the Georgia Institute of Technology announced a new collaboration called “Your Voice is Power” to encourage middle and high school students to share their voice on equity while learning to code new music remixes.
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 almost 300 elementary schools in ten states, directly impacting over 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. Applications are being accepted at: www.afebootup.smapply.org.
About the Hayward Unified School District
The Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) serves nearly 20,000 students at its 30 school sites throughout the City of Hayward. We honor our diversity and partner with our families to ensure that every student is ready to learn and learns a lot in a joyful, safe environment. Our goal is to provide all of our students and families opportunity and access to a range of programs that engage their interests, inspire a love of learning, challenge them to think critically, and prepare them for college, career and life.
This article originally released on the Hayward Unified School District News section.