ScriptEd - Teaching Kids from Low Income Communities to Code

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ScriptEd - Teaching Kids from Low Income Communities to Code

New York, United StatesNew York, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The technology industry is not accessible to all students through traditional curricula. ScriptEd empowers students from low income communities by bringing computer programming courses directly to their schools, and by helping them secure summer internship opportunities with software developers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The technology industry is not accessible to all students through traditional high school curricula. Only one in ten schools in the United States offer computer science classes. At the same, The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the technology sector will grow another 22 percent by 2020, making it one of the fastest growing career fields. Young black and latino men are underrepresented in the software engineering industry. To remain innovative, the industry must employ a diverse workforce, and young black and latino males should be included in that workforce.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

To solve this problem, ScriptEd recruits and trains professionals from the technology industry to teach computer programming courses at high schools in low income communities. Students participate in courses twice weekly throughout the school year, and are placed in internships in technology firms over the summer. By learning to program, students from low income communities are empowered to be the creators of technology.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Raul is a junior at Harlem Village Academies High School. Raul loves video games and using technology, but had never thought of himself as someone who could make the games and software he was using every day. He learned about ScriptEd, an after-school club at his school, through one of his friends. Raul began attending ScriptEd's after school sessions and quickly learned the fundamentals of HTML, CSS and Javascript, and began to create his own games. At ScriptEd's hackathon in April, Raul won a top prize for creating a memory game program (see here: His success at the hackathon motivated him to continue developing his programming acumen, even outside of ScriptEd. This summer, Raul will participate in a 4-week internship at Thrillist, a tech firm based in Soho. Raul will work with the developers at the company on small projects, like creating a currency converter for its online marketplace. Raul plans to continue with ScriptEd next fall. At that time, he will begin learning a new computer programming language (either Python or Ruby).

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Several other organizations in New York City, like Girls Who Code, Coder Dojo, and Code Now teach students to code. ScriptEd is different from these organizations in that the program is hosted in students’ schools. This model removes some of the traditional barriers that prevent low-income students from participating in similar programs. ScriptEd also places its students in summer internships, and teaches its curriculum in industry standard languages to ensure students can easily transfer their skills to their internships.
About You
ScriptEd, Inc.
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

ScriptEd, Inc.

Borough(s) where you are creating or plan on creating impact

Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens.

Organization Country

, NY, New York, New York County

Country where your solution is creating social impact

, NY, New York, New York County

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Social Impact
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you or the person who came up with your proposed solution to get started and/or to see the potential for it to succeed.

Liz Davidson and I have had the privilege of working with 100's of inspiring students from low-income communities. We saw our students accomplish amazing things. Some were the first in their families to go to college. Some overcame language barriers to become valedictorians of their classes. Others earned high grades despite job and family commitments. Our students told us they were going to be journalists, doctors, forensic scientists, lawyers, and teachers. None of them ever told us they were going to be computer scientists, web developers, or software engineers. In fact, most of our students never knew these tech-related careers even existed. ScriptEd was founded with the idea that we could change students lives by teaching them to code.

Impact: What is the impact of your solution to date? Also describe the projected future impact. (If your solution is an idea you can just describe projected future impact.)

Over the past school year, ScriptEd served 25 students in two schools in New York City. Our short-term goal is to serve 75 students by the fall of 2013. ScriptEd aims to expand to six cities and serve 6,300 students across a spectrum of courses by 2017. To do this, we plan to engage approximately 1,000 volunteers from the tech industry.

Full Impact Potential: How do you plan on spreading your solution moving forward? (Please consider spread within New York City or beyond, policy reform, how you might get others to replicate/adopt your solution or other mechanisms)

Both our low-overhead costs and our school-based model allow us to easily replicate our program to additional schools and cities. We chose our model intentionally so as to reach as many students as possible. We plan to expand our mission through grassroots organizing, media campaigns, and through ScriptEd's network of stakeholders.

Tell us about your partnerships. If your solution is an idea tell us about who you would partner or plan on partnering with in order to make your solution a success.

ScriptEd has built partnerships with schools, businesses and nonprofits who are committed to improving computer science education. Our business partners include The Huffington Post, American Express, General Assembly and others. They provide volunteers, field trip opportunities, job shadows and internships. Our nonprofit partners are Teach for America, Ashoka and IgniteGood. These organizations provide financial and professional support.