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Amazon to Fund Computer Science Courses Across Several Long Island City and Astoria High Schools, Part of Citywide Effort

William Cullen Bryant High School at 48-10 31st Ave., one of the schools under Amazon’s computer science initiative. (Google Maps)

Jan. 29, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez

Several high schools in Long Island City and Astoria will soon begin to offer computer sciences courses as part of a new citywide effort launched by Amazon, the tech giant with controversial plans to build a new campus in the area.

The company announced today that students in 132 high schools across the five boroughs, including 11 schools in Astoria and Long Island City, will have access to introductory and Advanced Placement Computer Science courses by the fall through its ‘Future Engineer’ education program.

Amazon, by way of its program, will help fund courses devised by Edhesive, a New York-based STEM curriculum provider, in the selected schools, some of which already offer some type of computer science classes.

“We want to help make sure more children across New York City gain the coding skills necessary to have successful careers in many fields,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO, in a statement.

The company noted in its announcement that its Future Engineer program, founded in November, is aimed at making computer science available to students in underrepresented and underserved communities nationwide.

The full-year curriculum includes preparatory lessons and tutorials, with professional development options available for teachers as well. Live online support is also available seven days a week for students and teachers.

Students will also be able to access Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure for their coding projects and more with free membership to AWS Educate, an Amazon program.

The company’s New York City initiative covers 37 schools in Queens—the most out of any borough—branching into neighborhoods like Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Flushing, Forest Hills and beyond. The Bronx and Manhattan will see 27 high schools under the program, with 35 in Brooklyn and 6 in Staten Island.

The Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens, one of the schools under the program, said its students will learn skills that are important and valuable in today’s economy.

“Amazon is helping fill a major gap in our curriculum that will help young people acquire the skills to build rewarding careers, while boosting prospects for our local community overall,” said George Diaz, the Jamaica’s school’s assistant principal.

Today’s announcement comes in the midst of Amazon’s campaign to get New Yorkers behind its plan to build a 4 million square foot campus at Anable Basin in Long Island City.

The city and state have also embarked on a separate outreach effort, presenting on the many facets of the project and benefits to western Queens and beyond in a series of community meetings over the past several weeks.

The trillion-dollar company’s plan has been met with much controversy by locals, elected officials, and advocacy groups since the official campus announcement was made in November. Criticism has targeted several facets of the project, including the negotiations and deal the company cut with the state and city, the project’s impact on New York City infrastructure and housing and the company’s track record.

Many have also questioned the city, state, and Amazon’s investments into making sure that the bulk of the 25,000 jobs at the future Long Island City campus go to locals, especially of underrepresented backgrounds. The tech giant, in its education initiative, appears to respond to part of these concerns.

The Amazon Future Engineer initiative also follows a city announcement made yesterday that said the administration would offer micro grants to workforce development organizations that can propose programs aimed at training and hire underrepresented New Yorkers in tech and other in-demand sectors.

List of participating schools in Astoria and Long Island City. To see the full list of participating schools, click here.

Academy For Careers In Television And Film

Academy of Finance and Enterprise

Energy Tech High School

Evangel Christian School

Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts High School

Information Technology High School

Robert F Wagner Secondary School For Arts And Technology

St Demetrios School

St Johns Preparatory School

The Young Women’s Leadership School Of Astoria

William Cullen Bryant High School

 

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16 Comments

LICPEOPLE

If the increasing rents push the low-income families to other neighborhood, it’s totally normal. The neighborhood is becoming a better place. Low-income families can’t afford to live in a nice area, then move. Each year, tons of middle-class families move out of NYC because they can’t afford. Every one think it’s normal. Why we have to make exceptions for low income families??? Who gives them the rights to stay in a area they do not deserve?

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DD

I don’t agree that it is ‘normal’ to have to move out of a neighborhood you could previously afford. No one is saying that the poor need to go live on Park Avenue… but if you have lived in a community, a neighborhood for years – put down roots, know your neighbors, shop local, send your kids to local schools, then yes you DO have a right to stay and be part of the improvement and should not lose that right because you do not earn a high enough salary.

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LICPEOPLE

Leave all that crap to your democratic daddy. Don’t tell me you suddenly forget how to shop in a grocery store 2 miles away. Your kids can still stay in the local school per NYC policy. Your neighbors will probably move with you if you all can’t afford the area. If they don’t move, it’s probably your own problem. US is now a shithole because all of lazy selfish losers. you guys just don’t want this place to be better so you can just live here.

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DD

The DOE did not even know about this until Amazon announced it yesterday, so where is the collaboration with the city?. Of course computer classes are good, but who will get them. If lower income families are rapidly displaced due to rent increases in the areas near LIC, and they then in turn displace people in other parts of Queens, that does not seem worth the trade off for some computer classes, which will not qualify kids for the 150K jobs at HQ2.

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DD

The NYTimes reported that this was news to the DOE who were not consulted. Computer courses would be excellent but not an equitable trade off for when the existing families of those kids have to move due to even more rapid gentrification caused by Amazon who will bring in many new people to fill those 150K jobs that will require a lot of IT knowledge and experience. I’m sure the kids of the new people coming in to take their place, will benefit from the courses though.

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John O'Reilly

On the one hand, self identified “progressives” are working to dismantle the City’s select high school programs but at the same time working against a highly successful tech company looking to provide quality education to vast array of students across the City. The real beef for politicians like Gianaris and Van Bramer is that they were not included in the Amazon negotiations and thus denied the opportunity to grab what they could for themselves and their cronies.

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Anonymous

It’s unclear what’s being provided. Teachers –and their salaries? Classrooms–or will there be competition for already overcrowded space? Are dedicated staffed classrooms to be made available at HQ2?

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Anon

This is nice but demonstrates a lack of understanding of the actual community in LIC. Years of underinvestment in…

-Public, open space (LIC Ramps)
-Community Center
-More school seats for District (overcrowding in general)
-Improved sewage capacity
-Better / larger public libraries

There is dog poop everywhere in Ct Square because there is no dog park. While it is super local….dog poop in many ways is how some officials get elected and or not for those in politics (e.g. can mayor keep street plowed during snow)

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OAR

There is a dog run, you just have to walk over a few blocks to Murray Playground. In addition, dog owners are supposed to pick up after their dogs, it’s irresponsible dogs owners that are the cause of dog poop everywhere, not because there isn’t a dog run. Dog owners are supposed to curb this dogs which means to train your dog to pee and or poop in the street. It would be nice if they also carried water with them and when they let their dog pee in the middle of the sidewalk, wash it away with the water.

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LICfly

Having a nearby dog run will not solve this problem. Dog owners walk their dogs to pee/poop around the block, they’re not taking their dog to the dog run each time. Having responsible dog owners is the only solution. The hunter’s pt area is just as bad or worse, even when owners pick up poop, remnants are smeared on the ground. I just puked a little in my mouth. Full disclaimer, I don’t own a dog because I live in a NYC apt and feel its selfish and unfair to the dog. I love dogs, not so much the dog owners.

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Maria Pedemonte

The best in Long Island City is a beneficial for those students won go to college they have a career technology and have a good job Thanks to Amazon for give the school opportunity

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LICfly

Cue JVB trying to find some fault in this headline in 3…2…1. This is just the beginning folks.. they went citywide, not just LIC folks.

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And Amazon delivers not only to your door

Well Van Bramer & Gianaris how will you react to this news. Imagine the though of your constituents children getting a good education from a highly regarded tech company. O, and they might well be employing your constituents too for a decent salary.Something both you promise when canvasing for office but never deliver. Now stop telling the people of western queens that they are too stupid to work for Amazon and that the company will bring no value to their lives or their social being,

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Pension Orphan

Why doesn’t the DoE pay for these programs itself? Oh right, they need to pay for rubber rooms and provide lifetime pensions and healthcare. If only the rich would pay their fair share.

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