Amazon and Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) today announced that Amazon is funding computer science education and teacher professional development for every elementary school – 154 schools – in the school district, impacting more than 78,000 students. 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.
“Programs like BootUp help further stimulate a student’s appetite in STEM while challenging their mind to engage in computer science concepts,” said Oswaldo Alvarenga, assistant superintendent of STEM for Dallas ISD. “We are grateful for our Amazon partner’s vision to offer these resources to Dallas ISD students, which helps lay the groundwork to a career in STEM.”
In addition to helping support Dallas ISD, Amazon Future Engineer is funding computer science education for nearly 200,000 elementary school students, at more than 400 schools across the country. Amazon Future Engineer is already funding Introductory and AP computer science courses for more than 180 high schools in the state of Texas. 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.
“I am thrilled that Dallas ISD is now part of the Amazon Future Engineer program,” said Mayor Eric Johnson. “Professional development and early childhood education are top priorities of mine, and both are critical to our city’s future. Early exposure to computer science skills will prepare our city’s students for a changing world by teaching them to solve problems and think critically.”
“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.”
“The Dallas Independent School District is one of the largest in the country and presently in their third year of a district-wide ‘Computer Science for Elementary’ initiative,” said Clark Merkley, Executive Director of BootUp. “The Amazon Future Engineer sponsorship is in perfect alignment with their goals of providing underserved and underrepresented students with a solid technology foundation, and growing their pipeline of Computer Science students into the District’s high school curriculum.”
Amazon’s commitment to Dallas ISD is part of its $50 million investment to increase access to computer science/STEM education across the country, primarily through its childhood to career program, 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 180 high schools participating in the Amazon Future Engineer program, and three students who have received a $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship and guaranteed Amazon internship.
Amazon Future Engineer is still accepting applications for elementary school computer science education sponsorships with BootUp – US school districts can apply here. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming school year, BootUp has modified its professional development work in a virtual setting without compromising the ability to model and discuss the same high-quality computer science concepts and practices. 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.
About Dallas Independent School District
The Dallas Independent School District is continually preparing its more than 153,000 students for college or a career. The district offers a competitive mix of innovative programs, choice programs and instructional initiatives that support the increased academic achievement and the social and emotional development of its students. To learn more, visit www.dallasisd.org.