YES Prep Gulfton Awarded $20,000 by Project Lead The Way to Help Close Digital Divide

[Houston, TX]- Students at YES Prep Gulfton will soon have access to computer science courses that will give them an advantage in their education and future careers. The opportunity is made possible through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and Project Lead The Way (PLTW). YES Prep Gulfton is one of 72 schools across the country receiving part of a $3 million grant provided by the Verizon Foundation for implementation of PLTW computer science curriculum.  
 
This grant program is an expansion of a partnership that began in 2014 between the two organizations to increase students’ access to computer science curriculum and help students develop the in-demand knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the rapidly advancing, technology-based economy.  
 
“There is a digital divide in our nation between students who have easy access to technology and those who do not. We estimate that about 40% of our students do not have internet at home,” said YES Prep Gulfton School Director Oscar Romano. “This grant will equip our students with invaluable computer science skills and open doors to future careers in an increasingly digital world.” 
 
YES Prep Gulfton joins more than 10,500 schools across the U.S. in offering PLTW programs to students. PLTW Gateway’s computer science units – App Creators and Computer Science for Innovators and Makers – are part of PLTW’s K-12 Computer Science pathway and are built on PLTW’s hands-on, project-based instructional approach. The units provide an opportunity for students to experience computer science in a relevant and engaging way, empowering them to solve real-world problems using the powerful ideas behind computational thinking, learn digital citizenship, and strengthen their critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. The program sets them up for further computer science learning via PLTW’s four-year Computer Science program in high school. 

“Project Lead The Way is committed to preparing our nation’s next generation of problem–solvers and innovators,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “In partnership with Verizon, we are significantly increasing the number of students who have access to high-quality computer science education and will be prepared for these growing career opportunities.” 

The grant funds will be disbursed over a two-year period to offset startup costs associated with implementing the units. They will also support professional development for teachers and provide schools with equipment including tablets and software. 
 
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About YES Prep Public Schools 
 For 20 years, YES Prep has increased the number of students from underserved communities who graduate from college prepared to lead. With 17 schools serving 12,600 students, YES Prep leads Houston forward by redefining what is possible in public education when children have access to excellent schools. YES Prep received the inaugural Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, is nationally ranked by the U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post, and others, and has consistently been named one of Houston's "Best Places to Work" by the Houston Business Journal. The Teaching Excellence program provides transformational support through proven coaching strategies, impactful professional learning, and a streamlined Alternative Certification Pathway (ACP) for all teachers new to YES Prep and to partner school systems. www.yesprep.org 
 
About PLTW 
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 10,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.