Chancellor Fariña Announces 12 More Elementary Schools to Participate in SEPjr Computer Science Initiative

  • Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 Updated: Thu Apr 19, 2018

Part of Computer Science for All initiative to provide computer science education for every elementary, middle, and high school by 2025. 23 total elementary schools will integrate computer science topics from Kindergarten through Fifth grade

NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced that 12 more elementary schools will participate in the Software Engineering Program Junior (SEPjr) for the 2017-18 school year, in addition to the 11 that participated in 2016-17. SEPjr is the first schoolwide initiative for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade to learn foundational computer science concepts through both computer-based and “unplugged” activities – including block-based coding, robotics, programming “robotic friends” in the class to complete a task, and learning about loops and functions through song and dance.

SEPjr is part of the City’s Computer Science for All initiative, which is bringing Computer Science to every elementary, middle, and high school by 2025 through public-private partnerships facilitated by the Fund for Public Schools. This spring, the City announced 38 additional high schools committing to add the AP Computer Science Principles course for the 2017-18 school year. Additional elementary, middle, and high schools will also offer a variety of new computer science coursework this fall.

“Computer Science for All – particularly at the elementary school level – is an investment in our future,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As we continue to expand programs like SEPjr, the AP Computer Science Principles course, and other computer science pathways, we are ensuring that our kids have the skills they need to be the next generation of creators and leaders.”

 “As we move towards our vision of equity and excellence for all students, I am excited to bring SEPjr to 12 more elementary schools this year,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “SEPjr is a one-of-a-kind program, and it demonstrates our commitment to Computer Science for All – which means providing even our youngest learners with the opportunity to learn valuable CS concepts and improve skills like collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving. Computer Science for All shows the commitment of our educators to constantly improving their craft and bringing new, engaging topics back to their students. ”

“As we continue expanding Computer Science for All, more educators will bring exciting computer science lessons to our youngest learners through SEPjr. It’s thrilling to see educators bringing joy and enthusiasm to our classrooms through computer science instruction. We know that’s how students can be empowered to become better thinkers, creators, collaborators, and to develop a deep love of learning,” said Phil Weinberg, Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.

“The expansion of Computer Science for All, and specifically of SEPjr to more elementary schools, demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that all NYC students can access the tools they need to be future leaders as soon as they enter kindergarten,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships. “We are thrilled to foster the implementation of this successful public-private partnership and witness the impact it's having on students across the City.”

“I believe that engaging young students in creative learning opportunities with computers is a great way to build interest and confidence,” said Fred Wilson, Founder and Chairman of CSNYC and Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures. “The SEPjr program helps elementary schools develop school-wide strategies for CS that will serve as models for the whole system. I'm pleased to support the DOE team's innovative work to offer computer science to all students.”

“SEPjr is going to be a great addition to our school,” said Raevan Askew, Principal of PS 354 in Queens. “Throughout our school, we’re encouraging our students to think critically and make their thinking visible, and SEPjr provides an excellent opportunity for students to do just that. I know that this program will equip our students with the skills – both on and off the computer – that they’ll need in middle school and beyond.”

Through computer science education, students learn to think and solve problems, collaborate and build relationships with peers, communicate and create with technology, and better understand technology we interact with daily.

Computer Science for All is part of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, which aims to ensure that by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college ready. Building on record-high graduation rates, record-low dropout rates, and a high-quality pre-K seat for every New York City 4-year-old, Equity and Excellence for All is creating a path from pre-K to college and careers for every child in every neighborhood in New York City.

The Computer Science for All initiative is a public-private partnership with New York City supported by a range of foundations, corporations, nonprofits, families, and individuals. Major partners include CSNYC; Robin Hood; Math for America (MfA); Robin Hood Learning and Technology Fund; Oath Foundation; Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.; the Hutchins Family Foundation; and Paulson Family Foundation. They are joined by additional partners such as Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz; the Ron Conway Family; The Rudin Foundation and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation; ABNY Foundation; Accenture; and Arconic Foundation; and past supporters such as Hearst Foundations. The Fund for Public Schools, CSNYC and the Office of Strategic Partnerships at City Hall work together to develop and manage these partnerships.

“CS4ALL is about helping to equip our students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in the 21st century.  Access to high-quality computer science education – whether it’s helping to develop early problem solving skills for more elementary school students or offering Advance Placement CS courses to more high school students – will increase the demand for our city's students later in higher education, and high demand and high paying employment opportunities,” said John Paulson, President of Paulson and Co. Inc.

“We are proud to support CS4All and this public-private partnership. This is not just about giving all students access to computer science, a worthy goal in itself, but about the approach to thinking that such instruction affords.  In a relatively short time we have seen real progress in terms of the number of teachers being trained and the number of students gaining exposure.  This is about educating all students for the future and their future success” said Emary Aronson, Chief Program Officer at Robin Hood.

“We’re proud to partner with CSNYC to expand CS4All’s computer science education to reach NYC’s youngest students,” said Sara Link, President of Oath Foundation. “Our aim is to empower kids from all backgrounds to reach their full potential and learn the skills needed to be successful in today and tomorrow’s digital world.” 

“The Hutchins Family Foundation is proud to continue to support the vision of Computer Science for All, a uniquely powerful means to equip the students of New York City to participate and prosper in the innovation economy of the future,” said Debbie and Glenn Hutchins, co-Founders of the Hutchins Family Foundation.

“We’re focused on creating vibrant life science and technology ecosystems, like in New York City, that support our tenants in their efforts to help cure disease, end hunger and improve the quality of people’s lives,” said Emily Sheridan, Vice President of Strategic Programming and Philanthropy at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. “We know part of that means preparing today’s students — the next generation of innovators and leaders — for the jobs that will be developed for tomorrow. Alexandria is proud to be a significant supporter of the CS4ALL program, not only through providing funding, but also by hosting students on our Alexandria Center for Life Science – New York City campus. SEPjr helps jump-start students’ interests from their first days in school, and we are pleased to play a role in empowering teachers to bring quality educational tools back into their classrooms.”

"Every day we expand computer science education in the schools is a good day," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Far beyond the particular set of skills being taught, these programs open a window onto a whole world of important new disciplines that our children deserve the opportunity to be exposed to and excited about

“Initiatives like Computer Science for All and the Software Engineering Program Junior help build a foundation for children to learn computer science and coding, while honing skills that are sought after in today’s and tomorrow’s job market,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “By investing in these young people, we are investing in our city’s and our nation’s future competiveness.  I’m proud to see these resources dedicated to our local schools and will continue working at the federal level to support innovative programs like this.”

“Computer Science is critical to the success of our students and their ability to compete in our growing economy as the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and leaders,” said U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “Congratulations to each of the participating schools in my district – PS 8 Isaac Varian, PS 246 Poe Center, and PS 175 Henry H. Garnet – and to each of the students who will participate in the Software Engineering Program Junior (SEPjr) during the school year. This is an incredible opportunity for students to learn the foundational computer science concepts through computer-based activities, including robotics and block based coding. I commend Chancellor Farina and the New York City Department of Education for today’s announcement and efforts to ensure New York students have the opportunity and ability to remain competitive in the diverse global economy of the future.”

“Now thousands of additional students will benefit from SEPjr,” said Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm. “Coding, robotics and other computer-based education teach students to think creatively and strategically. Thanks to this initiative, those who wish to major in computer science in college will have a head start. I fully support this important work and am pleased that the city continues to prioritize Computer Science for All.”

“I applaud and commend Chancellor Fariña for expanding the Software Engineering Program Junior Program (SEPjr) that will provide more opportunities for our students and will inspire more computer scientists from our city. It is important to ensure that our students have access to as many opportunities and resources that will provide them with the skills that they will one day need in their future careers,” said Senator Jamaal Bailey.

“Early access and hands on learning is the foundation for developing a life-long love of learning. This is especially true of computer sciences and technology. SEPjr gives Brooklyn elementary students the unique opportunity to see and experience a computer as more than just a complex tool. I commend Chancellor Fariña for giving this gift to generations of Brooklyn students,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan

“I commend Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on the expansion of the Computer Science for All initiative to include PS 254,” said Senator Roxanne Persaud. “Exposure to computer science in the formative years will equip our students with the requisite skills to succeed in a growing and competitive marketplace. The students of PS 254 and the community at large will benefit tremendously from this initiative. This is a win for all as this investment in our children will pay huge dividends in return.”

“We have to realize that the future is now, said State Senator James Sanders Jr. “Anybody who is talking about preparing for the future has already missed it. We have to do everything possible to get ourselves into the 21st Century, and we are late. We have to push harder. Our young scholars deserve every opportunity that there is. I applaud the DOE for expanding the Software Engineering Program Junior to more schools including two in my district - PS 354 Jermaine L. Green STEM Institute of Queens and P.S. 181 Brookfield School.”

“As a former secondary school math teacher, and someone who is very invested in STEM education, I am happy to see the Computer Science for All initiative being rolled out in PS 315 in my district as well as 22 other elementary schools throughout the City,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte. “This initiative is critical to all of our school children in order to prepare them to participate in the jobs and the world of the future. I would like to commend Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for their foresight and for their commitment to the many NYC school children that are in their care.”

“Learning about coding and computer science through hands-on activities motivates kids to achieve in the classroom and gives them highly marketable skills for the future,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. “I’m pleased that children in my district and across our City are benefiting from the expansion of this valuable program.”

“The teaching of computer science skills to all students is long overdue. This program will undoubtedly give our students a leg up on other students throughout the country. We must ensure that our students are fully prepared and exposed to the STEAM fields and this is a step in the right direction. I welcome this new program to my district and hope to visit some of these classes in the upcoming year. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for their leadership,” said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol.

“I am glad to see continued expansion of programs such as the SEPjr program for our schools. Continued effort to give our children early computer science skills and education will help benefit them in the 21st-century economy.  I am also happy to see that PS 97 The Forest Park School is a part of this expansion for 2017-2018. I look forward to the continued effort DOE is making on providing schools with cutting edge educational programs geared toward computer science,” said Assembly Member Michael Miller.

“This is a great initiative and we are excited to welcome it here in our district”, said Assembly Member Michele Titus. “Exposing our children to coding and computers in their early years will significantly enhance their education and open more doors of opportunity.”

"Giving our kids an education that includes computer science and software engineering is critical in today's world, said Assembly Member Victor Pichardo. “Expanding SEPjr will allow more kids all over our city, including in the Bronx, to get the tools and knowledge to not only succeed, but also shape the future."

“I applaud Chancellor Fariña and the New York City Department of Education for investing in the Software Engineering Program Junior,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker. “Introducing elementary school children to foundational computer science concepts is an important investment in their future and in closing the coding inequality gap. I look forward to the program being expanded to District 16, beginning with PS 5.”

“Thanks to the Software Engineering Program Junior initiative, schools like PS 130 Hernando de Soto will now offer a range of innovative programs that will develop foundational tech skills for our students,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Programs like SEPjr are critical to making computer science inclusive and accessible to all of our City’s kids, regardless of socioeconomic background, while providing exposure to tech activities that activate their imagination.  Thanks to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for their commitment to helping NYC kids succeed, and I hope to see this program expand to more schools in Lower Manhattan and the rest of the City.”

“Education and technology are rapidly changing and we need to make sure that New York City schools have the resources they need to change alongside them,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “The earlier we introduce students to computer science skills, the more tools we’re giving them to succeed and grow later in school and in life.”

“Technological proficiency is essential in modern life,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “I, along with parents and students throughout New York City are excited to see that the Department of Education is preparing our students with computer science skills and I welcome the Software Engineering Program Junior (SEPjr) to Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School!”

“We are happy to know that the students of Henry Garnet School are receiving this fabulous program and hope it will be extended to other schools in my district,” said Council Member Bill Perkins.

The twelve elementary schools joining SEPjr this year are below:

Bronx

PS 8 Isaac Varian 
PS 246 Poe Center

Brooklyn

PS 16 Leonard Dunkly School 
PS 5 Dr. Ronald McNair 
PS 254 Dag Hammarskjold School 
PS 315 
Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School

Manhattan

PS 130 Hernando de Soto 
PS 175 Henry H. Garnet

Queens

PS 97 Forest Park School 
PS 354 Jermaine L. Green STEM Institute of Queens
PS 181 Brookfield School

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