'Changing the Game' Grants To Help Grow Nascent Texas Middle School
For the second consecutive year, East Austin College Prep Academy (EACPA) is the beneficiary of grants from the AMD Foundation to grow the school and improve its technology. The two grants, totaling $243,000, will help fund the addition of a new grade to the school, the doubling of student participation in an innovative game development program, and a new computer laboratory.
The tuition-free charter middle school is a new offering of Southwest Key, a Hispanic community outreach that offers education, workforce, and shelter programs to residents of east Austin, TX. The school enrolled its first class of sixth-graders in fall 2009 and will launch its seventh and eighth grades over the next two years.
In addition, the grants will enable the school to double the number of its students that participate in Globaloria, a game development and social networking tools program operated by the World Wide Workshop Foundation. Globaloria works with middle and high school students in areas underserved by technology to offer the tools and education to help them build skills in Web 2.0 tools and develop their original ideas for educational online video games that incorporate mathematics and social issues. The AMD grant will also help fund the hiring of a second Globaloria-focused teacher and an information technology professional to support the program at the EACPA campus.
"Southwest Key programs are about opening doors and breaking down barriers for children by providing educational possibilities that they wouldn't normally have access to in their community," said Juan Sanchez, president and CEO of Southwest Key. "The AMD Foundation and the Globaloria program had an enormously positive impact on students, inspiring and exciting them to learn. We were able to see students make great strides in their educational accomplishments and technological literacy, which we believe is largely due to this program."
Finally, the school will allot funds to open a second onsite computer lab technology lab featuring 30 notebook computers with enhanced processors and graphics capabilities. The 2010 AMD Foundation grant is part of the company's Changing the Game initiative, which supports both STEM education and greater student awareness of global issues such as the environment, energy, public health, and poverty.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.