Computer Science Education

Dallas ISD Gets Elementary CS Ed via Amazon

Dallas Independent School District will be delivering computer science professional development to teachers in all of its elementary schools, thanks to an arrangement with Amazon. The company is working with BootUp, a nonprofit professional development provider specializing in elementary school education, to bring CS to the district's 154 elementaries as part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. The program will reach an estimated 78,000 students.

Because of the uncertainty for the coming school year regarding whether schools will be open or closed, BootUp has modified its professional development to work in a virtual setting. The organization has already worked with about 300 elementary schools in 10 states to help teachers learn how to teach open-ended coding projects in free programs such as Scratch and ScratchJr.

"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, in a statement.

"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," added 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 [CS] students into the district's high school curriculum."

The agreement with Dallas ISD is part of a $50 million investment Amazon is making to increase access to computer science and STEM education in schools across the country. Texas by itself has at least 180 high schools participating in the Amazon Future Engineer program.

Elementary school leaders who are interested in applying for CS education sponsorships can apply through the BootUp website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.