March 6, 2015
Contact: Mark Johannes
A successful pilot program at Muldoon Elementary school, which teaches students how to program computers, has expanded to additional schools. The programming class is taught by Anchorage School District (ASD) teachers who support early engagement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.
All students who complete the class are provided with a free computer, and many of the students also receive six months of free internet access from Alaska Communications, one of the program partners.
Free computers are provided from surplus equipment retired by the Municipality, ML&P and AWWU. Surplus monitors, keyboards and mice are provided by the Anchorage School District. Volunteers build new systems for the students and install free Linux software to allow students to follow their programming interests at home. Many students also use the computers for homework and accessing the Internet.
The program began in October 2014 after a year of planning. The first ten students graduated the week before Christmas, and volunteers – including a number of UAA Computer Science students - helped deliver the computers to the students’ homes.
On Wednesday, March 4, twenty additional systems were delivered to 4th and 5th grade program graduates from Lake Otis Elementary and Muldoon Elementary schools. An additional fifteen systems are expected to be delivered to Ptarmigan Elementary School students after Spring Break.
Four Title 1 schools are scheduled to participate in the program in the final quarter of the school year; students will receive their computers during the week of May 11.