White Plains Public Schools joins Amazon Future Engineer and BootUp PD coding initiative to bring equitable computer science education to district schools, impacting over 3,000 students
White Plains, NY — March 1, 2022 — White Plains Public Schools today announced that Amazon is funding computer science education and teacher professional development for five elementary schools in the district, impacting more than 3,000 students as a result of its participation in Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon’s global philanthropic education program. White Plains Public Schools is part of Amazon Future Engineer’s expansion to more than 6,000 schools, 1,000 of which are elementary schools.
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.
“With a focus on computer science education at the elementary level, we can inspire a future of possibilities for our students to innovate and create. We thank Amazon and BootUp for this incredible learning opportunity for our teachers and their students,” said Dr. Debbie J. Hand, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, White Plains City School District.
"Through this partnership with Amazon and BootUp PD, our teachers will be engaged in designing classroom experiences that apply computer science principles and applications across all subject areas. Thank you, Amazon and Bootup for this great opportunity” said Rocco Varuolo, Coordinator of Instructional Technology K-12, White Plains City School District.
“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, Amazon Future Engineer. “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.”
"The Amazon Future Engineer program will close equity gaps by ensuring sustainable computer science learning opportunities for students throughout the nation,” said Clark Merkley, BootUp PD’s Executive Director. “It’s really the first ongoing national sponsorship focused on implementing sustainable, district-wide computer science. We’re extremely proud to be a part of something that will have a measurable, positive impact for decades to come.”
With BootUp, coding is elementary for ALL students. Teachers district-wide learn how to engage students with easy-to-use, block-based programming languages to create interactive stories, animations, games, art, music, and more through problem-solving and other fundamental CS 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 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 100 students with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon, as well as names ten 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. For 2021, Amazon Future Engineer has a goal to reach 1.6 million students from historically underrepresented communities globally with real-world-inspired virtual and hands-on computer science project learning. The program is currently available in the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, India and Germany.
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.afe bootup.smapply.org.
About White Plains Public Schools
The mission of White Plains School District is to educate and inspire all students while nurturing their dreams, so they learn continually, think critically, pursue their aspirations and contribute to a diverse and dynamic world. The City of White Plains is a thriving suburban city of about 57,000 people located approximately 25 miles northeast of New York City. The excellent public schools are a strong attraction for young families and for those relocating to the New York metro area. The tree-lined neighborhoods retain a small-town feel, yet the town is the economic and political center of Westchester County.