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Learn-to-code startup Codecademy and philanthropic platform DonorsChoose are aiming to double the number of girls studying computer science in high school in the United States.
To that end, Codecademy announced its partnership with DonorsChoose.org today. The partnership is intended to bolster the number of high school girls who pursue computer science in their later studies by introducing them to it early in their academic careers.
Powered by a $1 million commitment from Google.org, Codecademy rewards high school girls who complete a special introductory computer science course. The prize: $125 worth of gift codes from DonorsChoose. Teachers who successfully help four of their students complete the course will receive $500 worth of gift codes.
DonorsChoose gift codes can be used to fund special projects in the classroom — anything from new equipment to field trips.
“We started Codecademy to make job skills accessible to anyone, anywhere. This is another step in that direction,” Codecademy co-founder and CEO Zach Sims said about the program in an interview with VentureBeat.
According to the DonorsChoose website, eligible students receive a $25 gift code via email once they begin their courses. When they finish, they’re emailed another $100 gift code within a week. Teachers who help four or more of their students complete the course receive the $500 reward via email, as well.
Gift codes are distributed per course per student per teacher and will be unlocked as long as funding is available. Gift codes can be used on teacher’s projects on DonorsChoose, though no more than 20 gift codes can be redeemed on a single project.
For now, Sims said, “The program is U.S.-only in partnership with Google and DonorsChoose.” Teachers and students from U.S. public high schools can take advantage of the program to not only introduce more girls to computer science but also disburse the $1 million funding to projects that improve access to materials and technology in the classroom.
Asked if Codecademy is planning any next steps to further close the massive achievement gap between sexes in computer science, Sims said his team strives to “make sure everyone had access to an education that could prepare them for the future. We will do more partnerships and hopefully make more progress as the company grows!”
Teachers can send their students to http://www.codecademy.com/donors-choose to begin their Codecademy computer science course.