AT&T $250K Contribution Helps Expand CS@TFA in Five Regions; Hiring of Initiative Director

NEW YORK, September 8, 2015—Teach For America announced today that it will increase the infrastructure of its new computer science initiative, CS@TFA, in five regions with support from AT&T. Through its participation in the national 100Kin10 STEM education effort, AT&T will contribute $250,000 toward recruiting additional computer science (CS) teachers in the Bay Area, Kansas City, New York, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. The funds will also support the work of these teachers to expand and strengthen CS education in their local communities. Support from the technology company, through its signature education initiative AT&T Aspire, has also helped Teach For America appoint alumnus Cullen White (D.C. Region Corps ’09), former head of the IT Academy Programs at Prince George's County Public Schools, to lead the initiative.

Only 1 in 10 schools nationwide offer computer science classes, leaving many students—particularly students of color and those from low-income communities—without the foundational skills and experience to pursue CS in college and career.

“As part of our commitment to 100Kin10, AT&T Aspire is working with best-in-class programs like Teach For America to equip students with the skills they’ll need in the future workforce,” said Nicole Anderson, executive director of philanthropy at AT&T. “Teach For America’s CS@TFA initiative will expand STEM and computer science opportunities for young people who need them most and help these students succeed in school and beyond.”

CS@TFA was launched in 2014, through a partnership between Teach For America and the National Science Foundation, to increase access to high-quality CS education and experiences in underserved communities. Teach For America has seen a growing desire from its network of educators to teach CS; of those accepted to the organization’s incoming 2015 corps, nearly 850 individuals (63 percent female, 54 percent Pell Grant recipients, and 51 percent people of color) expressed interest in teaching CS. Teachers in CS@TFA’s first year received professional development in the Exploring Computer Science program, which aims to broaden the participation of students of color and female students in CS and encourage them to become CS teachers and advocates in their schools and communities.

“Access to computer science programming has opened doors of opportunity to corps members and students alike here in South Carolina,” said Josh Bell, executive director of Teach For America–South Carolina. “Last school year, 18 South Carolina corps members led 24 computer science clubs and equipped 500 students with the essential skills necessary to pursue computing in a post-secondary setting. We’re grateful to supporters like AT&T for making this important work possible.”

AT&T’s continued support of CS education has also made it possible for Teach For America to welcome Cullen White as director of CS@TFA. White previously served as supervisor of IT Academy Programs at Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland. Prior to this role, White founded and led the four-year IT Academy at Fairmont Heights High School—where over 50 percent of students he recruited as eighth-graders were female. During his time as an instructor, White led students to over 220 professional certifications and taught Web Development (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript), Java, Microsoft Systems Engineering, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): Introduction to Networks, and CCNA: Routing and Switching Essentials. Prior to making the switch to teaching IT courses, he taught Spanish and social studies as a Teach For America corps member in Prince George's County Public Schools.

“I’m thrilled to lead Teach For America’s computer science work and help expand access to students historically under-represented in the computing and STEM fields,” White said. “The skills learned through computer science, such as computational thinking and problem solving, are critical for success in the 21st century. All students deserve the chance to benefit from the amazing opportunities computer science can provide.”

Only 1 in 10 schools nationwide offer computer science classes, leaving many students—particularly students of color and those from low-income communities—without the foundational skills and experience to pursue CS in college and career. With 98 percent of all undergraduate CS majors reporting exposure to CS prior to college, the disparity of early CS experiences cuts promising students off from the many benefits the field has to offer. Five of the fastest-growing occupations in the country are computing occupations, and computing-related jobs provide among the highest entry-level salaries available to those holding a bachelor’s degree. Efforts to reverse this disparity must begin with bolstering pK-12 CS education and expanding access to all students.

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About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. This fall, 8,800 corps members will be teaching in 52 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 42,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2014, nearly $127 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.

This press release was originally posted on Teach For America.

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