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Amazon Funding Computer Science Education for 33 Elementary Schools in Oklahoma City Public Schools, Impacting Over 10,000 Students

July 12 2022 · By BootUp PD

Oklahoma City Public Schools is now part of Amazon Future Engineer’s expansion to more than 500,000 elementary students nationwide

Funding from Amazon Future Engineer delivers teacher professional development and curriculum from BootUp PD, a nonprofit professional development provider specializing in high-quality computer science concepts, practices, and standards for elementary teachers and students

Amazon Future Engineer aims to bring high-quality computer science access to students from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in tech - from childhood to career

Oklahoma City, OK—July 12, 2022— Amazon and Oklahoma City Public Schools today announced that Amazon is funding computer science education and teacher professional development for 33 elementary schools in the district, impacting more than 10,000 students from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in tech, as part of its Amazon Future Engineer program. Oklahoma City Public Schools is now part of Amazon Future Engineer’s ongoing sponsorship which aims to bring computer science to 500,000 elementary students by 2025.

Amazon is working with BootUp PD, a nonprofit professional development provider, specializing in K-5 elementary school education, to bring computer science to each Oklahoma City elementary school. BootUp PD’s typically in-person PD 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.

"Being selected to receive this sponsorship is an honor. We are grateful to the Amazon Future Engineer program and BootUp, who will provide support for our elementary teachers to implement computer science education into their classrooms and lessons. We look forward to how this will inspire our students' curiosity and innovative minds," stated Dr. Sean McDaniel, OKCPS Superintendent.

“I’m excited for Oklahoma City Public Schools to join the Amazon Future Engineer program, which offers computer science curriculum to students and teachers,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “We want Oklahoma City’s future workforce prepared to compete in a modern economy, and knowledge of computer science is critical to that end. It is equally important that these skills be available to all communities within our city. Thanks to everyone who is making this possible!”

“Amazon Future Engineer is thrilled to hear how teachers continue to go above and beyond to reach young students and pique their interest in computer science,” said Victor Reinoso, Global Director of Amazon’s philanthropic education initiatives. “We are committed to offering high-quality curriculum, professional development, and benefits to support educators as they help their students build life-changing skills that leverage computer science and coding to bring their dreams to life, no matter what career they choose to pursue.”

"This equity-driven opportunity will close digital learning gaps by ensuring computer science opportunities for students in all communities throughout the nation,” said Clark Merkley, BootUp PD’s Executive Director. “It is the first ongoing national sponsorship focused on implementing sustainable, district-wide computer science, exactly where it’s needed most. We’re extremely proud to be a part of something that will have a measurable, positive impact for decades to come.”

Amazon’s commitment to Oklahoma City Public Schools is part of the company’s ongoing efforts 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. Already in Oklahoma, there are more than 80 schools participating in the Amazon Future Engineer program.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon employees are volunteering virtually in Amazon Future Engineer classrooms, talking to the students about the importance of their own computer science education. Amazon Future Engineer also launched the Amazon Cyber Robotics Challenge – a free, virtual, first of its kind coding competition that teaches students the basics of computer science in the context of a real-life industry challenge.

About Oklahoma School City Public Schools

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) is a multi-cultural district serving more than 34,000 students. It is the largest traditional school district in Oklahoma and employs over 5,000 people. Our students are educated throughout 33 neighborhood elementary schools, 12 middle schools, 8 high schools, and 4 alternative schools located within 135.5 square miles in the center of Oklahoma. Over 60 languages are represented within our district, and 16,500 of our students are bilingual. Additionally, over 70 native american tribes are represented among our students, their families and our staff. OKCPS proudly serves nearly 55,000 meals each day at no cost to our students and transport 7,000 students daily using our fleet of over 120 school buses.

About Amazon Future Engineer

Amazon Future Engineer is a childhood-to-career computer science education program intended to inspire and educate millions of students from historically underrepresented communities globally, including hundreds of thousands of students in the U.S. each year. Students explore computer science through school curriculum and project-based learning, using code to make music, program robots, and solve problems. Additionally, each year Amazon Future Engineer awards 250 students with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon, as well as names 10 Teacher of the Year winners, awarding $30,000 prize packages for going above and beyond to inspire students in computer science and to promote diversity and inclusion in the field. The program is currently available in the U.S., UK, France, Canada, India, and Germany. For more information, visit amazonfutureengineer.com.

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 650 elementary schools in fifteen states, directly impacting over 230,000 students. BootUp prepares teachers to facilitate open-ended coding projects that are project-based and personally meaningful. 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.

Sponsorship applications are being accepted at: www.afebootup.smapply.org.

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