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Local Organizations Join Mission to Introduce Native American Students to Computer Science

Friday, December 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Linda Coyle
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PHOENIX – December 4, 2018

 

Local Organizations Join Mission to Introduce Native American Students to

Computer Science

Girls and minorities, specifically Native Americans are severely underrepresented in computer science classes and in the tech industry. The good news, partnering organizations like Science Foundation Arizona, Salt River Project (SRP) and Code.org are on the way to change this.

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), with support of the Arizona Legislature and the Department of Education supports the Native American Code Writers Program in high schools across Arizona. The program expands opportunities for Native American high school students to learn computer-programming skills and provide internship opportunities with industry partners, helping students develop their skills and identify future employment opportunities.

During Computer Science Education Week (December 3rd-9th), students from the Native American Code Writers Program at Cesar Chavez High School traveled to the K-8 Gila Crossing Community School on the Gila River Indian Reservation for a special Hour of Code event. The Hour of Code, organized by the nonprofit Code.org and over 100 others, is a global movement that believes students of today are ready to learn critical skills for 21st-century success by engaging in computer science activities and experiences.

The high schools students came prepared to mentor their younger peers with the Hour of Code activites and a variety of hands-on engaging robotics with laptops, headphones, charging stations and computer science teacher professional development supported by Salt River Project. 

"SRP’s support of Science Foundation Arizona is consistent with our goal of preparing students for educational success and developing their skills so, in turn, they can contribute to Arizona’s workforce,” said Erika Castro with SRP Community Outreach program. "The program provides a unique opportunity for SRP to partner with Arizona Science Foundation to provide support to the Gila River Indian Community.”

Science Foundation Arizona partnered with SRP with this task in mind.  "Preparing students for jobs within our local economy is imperative if we want to remain competitive”, stated Linda Coyle, SFAz director of education.  "With less than 500 CS college graduates to fill over 11,000 open computing jobs in Arizona, we need to start introducing computer science to students in younger and younger grades.  Targeting girls and our underrepresented communities is strategically crucial”, said Coyle.

"The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket science—anybody can learn the basics," said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. "Over 100 million students worldwide have tried an Hour of Code. The demand for relevant 21st-century computer science education crosses all borders and knows no boundaries." 

The students from Cesar Chavez High School and the Gila Crossing Community School demonstrated an interest in continuing this mentoring partnership between the two schools.  After school and Saturday clubs in both computer science and robotics are currently being planned for the spring semester.

For additional information, contact Linda Coyle at lcoyle@sfaz.org.

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About Science Foundation Arizona

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization initiated in 2006 by the Greater Phoenix Leadership Inc., Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty in conjunction with the executive and legislative branches of State government. SFAz serves as a catalyst for high-wage, knowledge-based jobs and economic diversity through administration and strict oversight of research, development and education grants to public education and other non-profit research performing institutions. For more information, visit www.sfaz.org and like us on Facebook.

 

About Salt River Project

SRP contributes more than $1.3 million to education initiatives, grants and partnerships throughout Arizona, in addition to providing free training and resources to educators throughout the state. SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users. 

 

About Code.org

Code.org is a 501c3 public non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Its vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer programming. After launching in 2013, Code.org organized the Hour of Code campaign – which has introduced over 100 million students to computer science to date – and partnered with 70 public school districts nationwide to expand computer science programs. Code.org is supported by philanthropic donations from corporations, foundations and generous individuals, including Microsoft, Facebook, Infosys Foundation USA, Amazon, and others. For more information, please visit: code.org.


Private donations fund our operating budget, education and research efforts.

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