News Article

Amazon Now Funding Computer Science Education for 28 Elementary Schools in Ector County Independent School District, Impacting More than 14,000 Students

September 20 2022 · By BootUp Team

Ector County Independent School District 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

__Odessa, TX__—September 20, 2022— Amazon and Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) today announced that Amazon is funding computer science education and teacher professional development for 28 elementary schools in the district, impacting more than 14,000 students from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in tech, as part of its Amazon Future Engineer program. Ector County Independent School District is now part of Amazon Future Engineer’s target to bring computer science to 500,000 elementary students by 2025.

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 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.

“Ector County ISD is grateful to the Amazon Future Engineer program and BootUp, who will provide support for our teachers to implement computer science education into their classrooms and lessons.” stated Superintendent, Dr. Scott Muri. “Our district strives to prepare Ector County’s future workforce to compete in a modern economy, and computer science knowledge is critical to that end. We are excited to see how this will inspire our students!”

Representative Brooks Landgraf: "I am incredibly thankful for the partnership between Amazon and ECISD, which will help close the digital divide in our public schools. Coding is the language of the 21st century, and we must make sure our students don’t fall behind in a rapidly evolving world. Amazon’s Future Engineer program represents a bold investment towards the computer science education of our students, which will ensure they are fully equipped to be tomorrow’s innovators and leaders in the STEM field."

“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 under-served and underrepresented 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 Ector County Independent School District 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 Texas, there are more than 550 schools participating in the Amazon Future Engineer program.

About Ector County Independent School District

Ector County ISD serves more than 33,000 students across the 900 square miles of Odessa and surrounding communities in Ector County, Texas, and is rated a “B” school district by the Texas Education Agency. Believing OUR Students are THE Future, the mission of Ector County ISD is to inspire and challenge every student to be prepared for success and to be adaptable in an ever-changing society. ECISD was founded in 1921 and is now into its second century of developing leaders for Odessa, the State of Texas, and beyond.

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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