Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) today (March 24) announced new partnerships with Code.org and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation that will raise awareness of the importance of computer science and encourage MCPS students to pursue technology careers.
Code.org is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding student participation in computer science. The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit originally established by the White House in 1987, inspires, prepares, positions and connects minority leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities.
“These partnerships will get students excited about computer science and encourage and prepare our students for the jobs of the 21st century,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr. “Working together, we will provide our students with the knowledge and skills they will need to thrive in their future.”
The Code.org partnership will begin in the 2014-2015 school year at 11 MCPS high schools: Clarksburg, Damascus, Gaithersburg, John F. Kennedy, Northwest, Northwood, Paint Branch, Quince Orchard, Rockville, Springbrook and Wheaton. Students at these schools will have increased access to computer science courses, curriculum and resources. The partnership will also provide new opportunities for professional development and training for MCPS teachers.
“Partnering with Montgomery County Public Schools – Maryland's largest school district – is a huge step forward in expanding access to computer science for American students. Computer science is just as foundational today as basic algebra or chemistry. Taking one of these courses early on can be life-changing for Montgomery County students," said Hadi Partovi, Co-Founder and CEO of Code.org.
MCPS is collaborating with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation through their LOFT (Leaders on Fast Track) program to introduce minority youth to computer coding as a bridge to career paths in technology fields to fill the skills gap in America. On March 24, the Foundation led more than 40 students at Wheaton High School in a two-hour, bilingual, coding “jam session.” The students were taught the fundamentals of coding and its real-world applications through a series of interactive activities. The coding “jam sessions” are being offered in several states across the nation including California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas.
“Driving this effort is the belief that every youth throughout our communities deserves to have access to high-level technology programs and trainings,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “As a Montgomery County resident, I am thrilled to partner with MCPS, Nancy Navarro and Code.org to inspire and equip minority youth to be world-class innovators, and there is no greater way to make an impact than through technology.”
The partnership with Code.org and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation aligns with the district’s ongoing efforts to provide students with increased access to instructional resources and innovative 21st century technologies that enhance learning.