Amazon and Prince George’s County Public Schools today announced that Amazon is funding computer science education and teacher professional development for 132 elementary schools in the district, impacting more than 49,000 students from underserved and underrepresented communities. Amazon is working with BootUp, a nonprofit professional development provider specializing in elementary school education, to bring computer science to each school as part of its Amazon Future Engineer program. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming school year, BootUp has modified its professional development to work in a virtual setting.
In addition to Prince George’s County Public Schools, Amazon Future Engineer is funding computer science education for nearly 200,000 elementary school students, at more than 400 schools across the country. Providing 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.
“We are proud to once again partner with Amazon to increase access to STEM education across our district,” said Dr. Monica Goldson, Chief Executive Officer for Prince George’s County Public Schools. “This type of partnership allows us to personalize the educational experience to meet the unique needs of our students. As we continue to shift to online learning, this opportunity will drive innovation and inspire our students to become trailblazers for the future.”
Seniors at Prince George’s County Public Schools previously participated in the Amazon Future Engineer high school program and were among the first to graduate. Since then, nearly all students who completed the program plan to continue their education and study computer science, mechanical engineering, programming, interactive media design, and cybersecurity to name a few.
“Amazon Future Engineer will be a much needed and welcomed addition for the students in our County schools,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “When this pandemic hit our community in March, closing our schools, my concern was and remains the achievement gap that can widen without intervention. This STEM and computer science education will undoubtedly keep our young people on track to continue their education virtually.”
“We’ve been so impressed with the stories we hear of elementary school teachers who are going above and beyond to keep their young students engaged, nurtured, and smiling, especially during these difficult times,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “As virtual classrooms become more common, we are confident that a focus on younger students in need will be an important and timely asset for teachers as they prepare all of their students for a bright future.”
“This opportunity will close equity gaps by enabling professional computer science learning for students in under-served communities throughout the nation,” said Clark Merkley, BootUp’s Executive Director. “It’s truly one of the first national sponsorships focused on implementing sustainable, district-wide technology initiatives. 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 Prince George’s County Public Schools 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. Already in Maryland, there are more than 40 high schools participating in the Amazon Future Engineer program, and one student who has received a $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship and guaranteed Amazon internship in the class of 2020.
Amazon Future Engineer is still accepting applications for elementary school computer science education sponsorships with BootUp – US school districts can apply here. In addition, right now, Amazon Future Engineer is supporting students of all ages amid the COVID-19 pandemic with free, online curriculum.
About Amazon Future Engineer
Amazon is committed to bringing more resources to children and young adults to help them build their best future. Amazon’s primary computer science access program, 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. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of young people to explore computer science; awards dozens of schools Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grants; provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience; and forms unique partnerships with trusted institutions to bring new coding experiences to students.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.
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.
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), the nation’s 20th largest school district, has 206 schools and centers, more than 136,500 students and 22,000 employees. Under the leadership of Dr. Monica Goldson, the school system serves a diverse student population from urban, suburban and rural communities located in the Washington, DC suburbs. PGCPS is nationally recognized for college and career-readiness programs that provide students with unique learning opportunities, including dual enrollment and language immersion.