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June 2014 | Grant Newsletter

Web Pros Teach Teens to Code

HACK IT: (above) ScriptEd students, paired with a mentor from the industry, compete with teens from other schools in a hackathon. Photo by Vaughn Wallace DELIVERED: (left) Students at the Arthur Ashe Health Science Academy take a hands-on approach to learning obstetrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Software developers from Google,, and other tech firms in the City are volunteering in 15 high schools in poor neighborhoods to teach HTML, CSS, and Javascript to students.

This experiment began in 2012, and early results are, as developers put it, positive .

The teens say they like the program, and ScriptEd, the nonprofit that runs it, is getting requests to expand to other high schools. Why the demand? Three reasons: A lack of teachers who specialize in computer science (pay is far higher in the private sector than in schools); professionals in this fast-changing field can teach up-to-date content; and mentors give teens a direct connection to jobs in the industry.

“Our students are thrilled to be taught exactly what they need to know to get a job,” says Maurya Couvares, executive director and co-founder of ScriptEd. This gives students a way to channel their obsession with technology into producing it instead of just using it, she says.

The teens take in-school and after-school classes twice a week. They learn programming languages and web applications, go on field trips to technology companies, and shadow software developers at work. They finish by testing their skills in a hackathon and doing paid summer internships. Our $40,000 grant is helping bring ScriptEd to nine more schools.

More Grants for STEM Education

$40,000 to Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health expands Health Science Academy, a three-year program for minority high school students in Brooklyn. They take college-level courses at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, attend seminars on health careers, and compete for paid research internships at Downstate and community sites.

$75,000 to New York Academy of Sciences, which recruits scientists to volunteer to teach nanotechnology, robotics, programming, and life sciences in more than 100 classrooms and after-school programs. The academy also will host family science fairs and a robotics competition.

Next article in June Newsletter: A Better Future for Teen Offenders>>

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