Salesforce.com donates $5 million for tech resources in SF public schools 

click to enlarge The Middle School Grades Leadership Initiative launched last school year by the Salesforce.com Foundation will receive a portion of a $5 million gift to expand the program to kindergarten through eighth-grade classes. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • Ap file photo
  • The Middle School Grades Leadership Initiative launched last school year by the Salesforce.com Foundation will receive a portion of a $5 million gift to expand the program to kindergarten through eighth-grade classes.

The Salesforce.com Foundation today announced a $5 million donation to San Francisco public schools to support technology advances in classrooms, nearly doubling the $2.7 million gift the institution gave to schools last year.

Following the successful launch of the Middle Grades Leadership Initiative in the 2013-14 school year -- in which 1,500 iPads were placed into the classrooms of 31 math and sciences teachers at 12 middle schools in The City -- this year's donation will provide twice the number of students with access to tablets and expand the program to kindergarten through eighth-grade classes.

The gift from the technology company includes $3 million that will buy an additional 1,200 iPads and 800 Google Chromebooks for computer science classes. Another $2 million will go to the district's Principal's Innovation Fund, which allows principals to directly invest in their schools.

San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza said the initiative helps create a 21st-century educational experience for students by increasing technology resources in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities.

"This partnership is about transforming our schools so that every student is challenged to kindle her or his unique spark, chart a course for a meaningful future, and build the knowledge and skills to achieve it," Carranza said in a statement.

"Students are not only using technology to consume and share knowledge but more importantly to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways, to collaborate with others and to create new knowledge," he said.

Thad Austin, a sixth-grade math and science teacher at Herbert Hoover Middle School who received 37 iPads as part of last year's gift, said his students are using the tablets again this year for "everything from receiving the lesson for the day to accessing all their curricular materials through online Web-based apps."

The Salesforce.com Foundation today also announced a $1 million grant to Code.org, a nonprofit that seeks to expand access to computer science curricula in U.S. schools.

Additionally, Salesforce.com employees will volunteer in computer science classes for SFUSD students as part of the partnership with Code.org and the district.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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