ScriptEd, Inc.

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ScriptEd, Inc.: Empowering students from low-income communities to be creators of technology.

New York, United StatesNew York, United States
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

ScriptEd empowers students to be creators of technology by offering computer programming classes in low income high schools and linking students to internship opportunities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every student in an under-resourced school had access to the resources and mentorship to become a creator of tomorrow's technology?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The tech industry faces a talent shortage, and schools are not teaching the computer programming skills required to thrive in today's economy. By 2020, the US economy will demand one million new high-end computing jobs. Meanwhile, 90 percent of US high school students never even have the opportunity to learn computer programming in school, and a wildly disproportionate number of these students are female and Hispanic or African American.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Founded in 2012, ScriptEd is a start-up non-profit organization that aims to increase access to careers in technology by offering computer-programming classes in low-income high schools. ScriptEd’s courses are taught by experienced computer programming professionals on a volunteer basis, ensuring that students not only have exposure to the most up-to-date knowledge available, but also role models and potential mentors in the field. In addition, ScriptEd links students to internship opportunities to gain professional experience in which to apply their coding skills.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Lilibeth Perez, a 17-year-old Latina from Spanish Harlem, has the opportunity to learn to code though classes provided by ScriptEd twice a week at her school. Last year Lilibeth learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and over the summer she was placed in a full-time paid internship programming at Contently. Over the summer she taught herself Ruby, and this year she is learning Python. Lilibeth, who is graduating this year, plans to double major in computer science and women's studies. She is the first in her family to graduate from high school, let alone go to college. Like many ScriptEd students, Lilibeth says that if ScriptEd had not come to her school she would never have had the opportunity to learn how to code.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In its first year, ScriptEd’s program served 27 students in two high schools in Harlem, New York, and placed four of its students in internships at technology firms. Our students learned the fundamentals of Javascript, HTML, and CSS, and participated in field trip and job shadowing opportunities throughout the year. This school year, ScriptEd has expanded to four additional high schools in New York City to serve more than 100 students. Over the summer we will place approximately 30 students in internships. In the long term, we aim to have at least 50% of students who complete our internship program choose to either major in Computer Science in college or enter into careers in software development.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Next school year, ScriptEd hopes to expand to serve 15 high schools in New York City and five high schools in Boston. This means that we will serve approximately 400 students next year, and will place between 100 and 200 student in internships. In five years, we aim to have 2,200 students complete our foundations course per year, 1,100 students participate in internships per year and 550 students either major in computer science in college and / or enter into careers in software engineering.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

ScriptEd fundraises from individuals, corporations and foundations. We also receive a small portion of funding through a government contract with the New York City Department of Education. Later this year we will begin offering an adult education course for a fee to help fund our program in schools.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Recently, a flurry of resources has sprung up to help people learn to code. Students can learn online through Codecademy or Coursera, and in-real-life through programs like CodeNow and CoderDojo. However, there’s a problem: children who have never heard of coding won’t take advantage of these resources. ScriptEd provides students with the access, information and mentors they need not only to learn to code, but also to be included in the culture of software engineering. We do this by bringing our program directly to schools and immersing students in the culture through internships.
Team

Founding Story

When I began learning to code two years ago, I felt more empowered than I had been by any new skill I’d acquired since school. I created technology that enabled me to make my job and life easier. I regretted that I hadn’t been exposed to it earlier in my life. At the same time, none of the hundreds of students I worked with ever told me they were going to be computer scientists, web developers or software engineers when they grew up. In fact, most of my students never knew these tech-related careers were an option or even existed. Like me, no one had ever exposed them to the field. This experience motivated me to start ScriptEd. I want to make sure that I give students access to the opportunities they deserve to define their own success.

Team

ScriptEd has two full-time employees: Maurya Couvares, its Executive Director, and Becca Novak, its Education Manager. We are building a strong Board of Directors, which is chaired by Josh Silverman, President of American Express’ U.S. Consumer Services. Finally, we engage 35 volunteers in our classrooms. As we grow, we plan to hire additional staff to support our volunteers and act as liaisons between students, partner schools, and ScriptEd.
About You
Organization:
ScriptEd, Inc.
About You
First Name

Maurya

Last Name

Couvares

How did you hear about this Competition?

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About Your Organization
Organization Name

ScriptEd, Inc.

Organization Country

, NY, New York

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NY, New York

Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Sustainability
If your venture is not yet break-even or generating a surplus from sales, how are you covering the financial gap currently? What are your plans for breaking even in the future?

ScriptEd is currently breaking even. In the future, ScriptEd will continue to be sustained through grants, donations and revenue generated through its contracts with schools and districts, and through its future teacher professional development program.

Tell us about your partnerships. What partnerships are critical for your solution’s success? How are you forming these partnerships?

ScriptEd is sustained through a diverse community of stakeholders. ScriptEd has partnered with schools to bring its services to students, engaged software developers to teach its classes, and collaborated with local companies to host students as interns. We work with other community organizations to improve computer science education in New York City and beyond. These partnerships are critical to our success.

What, if any, corporate partners have you worked with regarding your solution? What is the nature of your relationship with these corporate partners (e.g. career/internship placement of your participants, financial sponsorship or donations, program development, etc.)

ScriptEd has working with a number of corporate organizations to provide students with internship placements and field trip opportunities. These companies include (but are not limited to): Thrillist, About.com, Contently, American Express, Evidon, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Google, and Getty Images.

Barriers and Beneficiaries
U.S State(s) where your solution is creating impact

New York.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

ScriptEd’s largest barrier to success will be location of schools. Volunteers are typically not able to travel too far to help students. This means our geography is limited to our volunteers ability to travel.

We are working to remedy this by offering computer science related professional development opportunities to teachers -- and especially to teachers in hard to reach locations. This solution will not only solve our geography problem, but will also help generate revenue for our program.

The Participants: Tell us about the people who are benefited by your solution, including demographics and a qualitative description of the population you are serving.

The primary participants in ScriptEd’s program are students attending high needs high schools: schools in which 50% or more of the student population qualifies for free or reduced price lunch.