SEATTLE, Washington — Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Seattle Public Schools announced a new partnership to bring computer science and robotics to up to 30 Title 1 Seattle Public Schools as part of the Amazon Future Engineer program.
“This partnership with Amazon will give our students of color the opportunity to see engineers who look like them – which provides a huge benefit and creates a quicker course to students imagining a future in a STEM field,” said Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau. “Creating educational journeys like these help ensure our students are prepared for college, career, and life.”
Amazon is providing each of the schools with an Amazon Future Engineer Robotics grant to inspire the next generation of computer scientists, with a focus on students from underrepresented and underserved communities. Each of the schools will receive support to launch FIRST robotics teams, including teacher professional development to learn about robotics, support from Amazon to expand access to computer science education in their school, and a private tour of an Amazon robotics fulfillment center in Kent, Washington.
“Seattle is our hometown, and it’s very important to us to make sure more students in our city, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities have access to an exciting and rewarding computer science education,” said Beth Galetti, Amazon Senior Vice President of Human Resources. “We are excited to help Seattle Public Schools students become the innovators of the future, and we’re confident that this hands-on experience provided by Amazon Future Engineer will be both fun and informative.”
The mission of FIRST, curriculum provider for Amazon Future Engineer Robotics grants, is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills to students in grades K-12. Data from a 5-year longitudinal study of FIRST by Brandeis University shows competitive FIRST robotics programs works for all youth. Across all demographic groups (gender, race, economic status and geography), FIRST students show significant gains in STEM knowledge, STEM interest, STEM career interest, STEM identity, and STEM activity compared to their peers who don’t participate. FIRST students are more likely to major in tech-focused science fields in college; by their second year of college, over 50 percent declare majors in engineering or technology. The impact on young women in FIRST is particularly profound. By their first year of college, female alumnae of FIRST are 3.6 times more likely to take an engineering course, and 1.9 times more likely to take a computer science course than female comparison students.
“Amazon is helping FIRST in our goal to make robotics teams and programs available in every school,” said Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST and president of DEKA Research & Development. “In FIRST, every kid on every team can go pro. They gain a hands-on learning pathway in technology, computer science and engineering that propels them forward and inspires innovation.”
Seattle Public Schools is committed to creating opportunities for students who have historically been the furthest from educational justice; these students have also been underrepresented in STEM careers. They recognize the positive impact the partnership will have on educators, teachers and coaches to learn new skills and new ways of applying standards-based teaching in a new environment.
Launched in November, 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science.
Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.
Schools currently confirmed to participate are as follows:
High schools – Rainier Beach High School
Middle schools – Denny Middle School, Washington Middle School
K-8 schools – Broadview Thomson K-8 School, Licton Springs K-8 School, South Shore PreK-8 School
Elementary schools – Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, Beacon Hill International Elementary School, Captain Stephen E. Sanislo Elementary School, Concord International Elementary School, Dearborn Park International Elementary School, Dunlap Elementary School, Emerson Elementary School, Hawthorne Elementary School, Highland Park Elementary School, John Muir Elementary School, Kimball Elementary School, Leschi Elementary School, Lowell Elementary School, Madrona Elementary School, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, Olympic Hills Elementary School, Sand Point Elementary School, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Van Asselt Elementary School, West Seattle Elementary School, Wing Luke Elementary School