Oakland Answers White House Call to Expand Computer Science Education

Eric Wingerter

Oakland Answers White House Call to Expand Computer Science Education

Kapor Center, Mayor Schaaf, Oakland Unified School District, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Uber, Twilio and others commit to ensuring all Oakland students have access to CS education and career pathways

(Oakland, CA. January 30, 2016)–The Kapor Center for Social Impact, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland Unified School District, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Bay Area companies including Uber and Twilio announced a series of commitments this morning in an effort to ensure that all Oakland students have access to computer science education and career pathways.

The announcement comes in coordination with the White House, which this morning unveiled a plan to expand access to computer science education throughout the country, calling on “Governors, Mayors, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, creative media and technology professionals, and others to get involved.”

Oakland intends to become a national leader in computer science education through this unique partnership of government leaders, tech companies and nonprofit organizations. Some of the commitments announced today include:

  • Oakland Unified School District will ensure that all PK-12 students will have access to rigorous computer science education in the classroom by 2020.
  • Through partnerships with companies, philanthropists, nonprofits and the Mayor’s Office, computer science will be integrated into after-school and extended-day programming, summer programming, and internships.
  • Kapor Capital will work with dozens of portfolio companies to provide mentoring and volunteer opportunities for their employees to work with Oakland youth. As examples, Twilio will continue its support of LPFI Hackathons and networking nights during the academic year for SMASH Scholars; both Twilio and Uber will develop mentoring activities connecting their tech talent to Oakland students.
  • The Level Playing Field Institute will expand Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academies, the residential program that has been serving Oakland youth since 2004, as well as the CS-Academic Year Program for SMASH Scholars to continue their CS education on Saturdays during the school year to qualify for AP CS credit.
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee will identify funding streams within various federal agencies for funding Oakland’s focus on expanding CS education and tech career pathways.

“After 12 years of operating the Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) academies, we know that Oakland is brimming with genius,” said Freada Kapor Klein, founder of the Level Playing Field Institute. “When we don’t tap into that genius, we are missing a huge opportunity for innovation. These commitments aren’t just important for Oakland youth—they’re going to have a huge impact on the tech industry.”

“As more and more tech companies call Oakland home, it has the potential to either increase inequality or lift up the entire community. Bringing computer science education to all Oakland youth marks a big step towards the positive,” said Mitch Kapor, Partner at Kapor Capital.“I’m proud to see Oakland stepping up to become a model of tech getting it right.”

“Oakland has become a major center of innovation,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Increasingly, the tech industry has seen the value in the vibrant, diverse and progressive community that Oakland has cultivated and they want to be part of it. What we need to ensure now is that our residents, particularly our young people, are ready to step into their rightful place in the tech sector that drives our global economy. That’s why equitable access to training and opportunities is so critical.”

“Providing access to Computer Science education for all OUSD students is critical,” said Claire Shorall, Manager of Computer Science at OUSD. “As the new hub of innovation, Oakland will need more engineers to power growing companies. When that happens, as it is already starting to, OUSD graduates will be ready to fill those seats as local, home-grown talent. Or, better yet, start their own.”

“As the move to our new Oakland office approaches, we are excited to do our part to empower the community we will call home,” said Damien Hooper-Campbell, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Uber. “Uber is committed to developing and mentoring Oakland youth so they become future innovators and leaders.”

“Tech companies are in a position where they can create tremendous impact in students’ lives by investing not just their money, but also their time,” said Erika Balbuena, Senior Manager of Twilio.org,  “We’ve had the privilege of meeting and mentoring students through our support of LPFI’s “Level the Coding Field” hackathons and their SMASH Academy networking nights. We see this program and others like it as the stepping stone to great careers in tech.”

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The full text of the Oakland Computer Science Commitment is below:

Oakland Commitment to Computer Science For All

Oakland is committed to being a model city for Computer Science education for all.

We are united in our mission to expose all young people to a wide range of tech opportunities, and to be a welcoming home for tech companies that care about social impact and creating diverse and inclusive work environments.

The Kapor Center for Social Impact, the Office of the Mayor, our Congressional Delegation, and the Oakland Unified School District commit to actively promoting computer science education in our vibrant city. Working with the larger ecosystem of tech giants, startups, and the nonprofits that call Oakland home, our commitment is made up of three primary goals:

GOAL 1: Oakland Unified School District will ensure that all PK 12 students–over 50,000 including those in charter schools–have access to rigorous computer science education in the classroom and beyond by 2020.

·      OUSD will provide access to computer science in school, including exposure (PK-5), engaging and relevant instruction (6-8), and advanced coursework, industry-level certifications, and computer science Linked Learning pathways (9-12).

·      Through partnerships with tech companies, philanthropists, nonprofits and the Mayor’s Office, computer science will be integrated into after-school/extended-day programming, summer programming, and internships.

 GOAL 2:  All Oakland students will have access to a range of robust extracurricular programs and out-of-school programs, run by nonprofits and supported by tech companies, to continue CS training and skill building.

•      The Level Playing Field Institute will expand Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academies, the residential program that has been serving Oakland youth since 2004, as well as the CS-Academic Year Program for SMASH Scholars to continue their CS education on Saturdays during the school year to qualify for AP CS credit.

•       The Kapor Center will strategically build upon and support existing Oakland initiatives and partnerships that convene industry, government, foundation, school district, and nonprofit/community-based groups working on a variety of computer science initiatives, including the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Work Group and the Tech Equity Collaborative.

GOAL 3: All Oaklanders, students and non-students alike, will have an array of employment and training pathways to tech careers. As residents of a TechHire Community, Oaklanders will have opportunities to develop the skills needed to be competitive in a global economy.

 ·      Mayor Schaaf will work on executive actions promoting internship opportunities and volunteerism for tech work within the City of Oakland workforce.

·      Mayor Schaaf will work with her Vision Council to enact citywide challenge to fill a specific number of tech-related internships and summer jobs.

·      Kapor Capital will work with dozens of portfolio companies to provide mentoring and volunteer opportunities for their employees to work with Oakland youth. As examples, Twilio will continue its support of LPFI Hackathons and networking nights during the academic year for SMASH Scholars; both Twilio and Uber will develop mentoring activities connecting their tech talent to Oakland students.

·      Congresswoman Barbara Lee will identify funding streams within various federal agencies for funding Oakland’s focus on expanding CS education and tech career pathways.

 

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