Education Foundation of Sarasota County
The Education Foundation of Sarasota County provides under-served Sarasota County Schools students with access to technology and training to foster academic achievement, classroom success, and preparation for 21st century careers. Since 2007, the Education Foundation has impacted over 24,000 students and families through its Home Computer Program and Digital Learning Labs. In an effort to join forces with local organizations and community members to promote a college and career-going culture, the idea of a Hackathon was born.
What is a Hackathon?
An intense immersion experience where students join together with mentors to create an app or website that solves a community-wide issue.
Who are the students?
Sarasota County students ages 13-18 from low-opportunity settings recruited through Sarasota County Schools, the Education Foundation’s Digital Learning Lab partners, and community organizations.
Who are the mentors?
Three types of mentors work with students:
- Developer (programmer, engineer, computer science student or grad)
- Designer (front-end developer or graphic designer)
- Innovator (educator, business person, problem solver)
Why Sarasota County?
52% of the 43,300 students in Sarasota County Public Schools qualify for the income restricted National School Lunch Program. Many of these underserved students don’t have access to computer science training beyond the few basic technology classes offered at school. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs, but only 400,000 computer science graduates. Without access to more advanced training, Sarasota County students in need could miss out on over $500 billion dollars in salaries and the opportunity to bridge the technology job gap.
How does the Hackathon work?
Several area-specific issues are chosen by Sarasota and Manatee communities prior to the event. Students and mentors are teamed up to create an app or website that could potentially solve the issue. Mentors use their particular expertise to help students think outside of the box and begin creating the best app possible during the accelerated timeframe.
What is the goal?
Through the Hackathon’s hands-on learning experience, students gain the fundamental 21st century skills needed to succeed in today’s classroom and beyond. Students are exposed to the field of computer science as a potential career. Sustainability is created by connecting Hackathon participants with post-event computer science training opportunities.
How can you help?
To put on a successful Hackathon for Sarasota County, we need your help! Community partners, Mentors, Sponsors, Volunteers and Judges (Leaders from tech, business, education and cultural spaces) are wanted. Contact the Education Foundation or visit www.SRQHacks.com to learn how you can get involved.