(Bloomington, MN) — August 21, 2023 — Amazon and Bloomington Public Schools today announced that a grant from Amazon will support computer science education and teacher professional development for 11 elementary schools in the district, impacting more than 4,049 students, including those from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in tech, as part of its Amazon Future Engineer program. Bloomington Public Schools 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.
“We are proud to be Minnesota’s leader in K-12 computer science education, expanding access to critical skills and future careers to all students. Our Computer Science Immersion program establishes a strong foundation of important future-focused skills for all students, and especially females and students of color who have historically been underrepresented in computer science and tech fields,” said Dr. Eric Melbye, Superintendent of Bloomington Public Schools.
“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 is the first ongoing national sponsorship focused on implementing equitable, sustainable computer science education that is available to all students district-wide,” said BootUp’s Chief Executive Officer Savita Raj. “We prepare educators and support districts in building long term programs that provide equitable access to computer science opportunities for all students. Through this partnership, we will build a community of curious, innovative, thoughtful learners who are ready to most brilliantly impact our futures.”
Amazon’s commitment to Bloomington Public Schools 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 Minnesota, there are 55 schools participating in the Amazon Future Engineer program.
About Bloomington Public Schools
Bloomington Public School (BPS) is a culturally and socio-economically diverse district serving 9,800 K-12 students along with children and families from birth to age 5 and up to age 21 through nationally-recognized early learning programs, alternative learning options and transition programs for young adults with disabilities. Our district includes two early learning centers, 10 neighborhood elementary schools, three middle schools. two high schools, two alternative learning centers and New Code Academy, an online K-12 school with a computer science focus.
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) organization specializing in sustainable, multi-year, district-wide elementary computer science professional development focused on coding, computational thinking, creativity and problem-solving. Since 2015, BootUp has worked with more than 1,000 elementary schools in twenty-three states, directly impacting over 600,000 students. Through ongoing professional development, model teaching, and instructional coach support, BootUp prepares participants to become confident, innovative educators who engage students with meaningful, project-based, open-ended, age-appropriate coding activities.