Page 22 - THE Journal, January/February 2018
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successfully getting private grants is making the case. “Develop a convincing case and you can approach businesses,” he said. “We go to businesses that are affiliated with our school. Or we go to businesses that parents own. We make the case that our coding efforts are valuable, and then say, ‘Here is what we need.’”
Numerous private grants are available from various tech companies. Teacher Geek lists STEM grants by state ( You can also find updated grant listings at
Using Free Tools and Negotiating Deals
“We teach coding and basic digital citizenship [to every freshman] as
basic as and the Scratch programming environment [ edu],” said Ferries-Rowe. Both are free. “We use free programs to make sure we get 100 percent coverage for all the kids. We quickly enhanced the Scratch part of that curriculum by adding Makey Makey Boards. You can find these in bulk from China for $25 per unit (retail $50). Since we work in teams of three, we were able to cover an entire classroom worth of
Zach Latta
are looking for. Can you help us with that funding?’ If you go in with a pitch that has an actual goal and a real world number, along with the number of students that will be impacted, they are much more likely to give. You can pass the virtual hat.”
STEM Fundraisers
Additional fund-raising options feature new takes on familiar selling programs. “The most formalized one that I have seen is Vex Robotics,” said Ferries-Rowe. “Their recommended fundraiser is selling
funding coding and computer science education. As reported in the Sept 25, 2017 USA Today and elsewhere, the White House directed the Department of Education to “commit $200 million every year to K-12 computer science education, which is marking as a victory for its nonprofit organization.” The memorandum reportedly called on the Department of Education to commit at least $200 million of its grant funds to STEM education.
“Today’s $200 million-per-year commitment to computer science education marks a victory for, and for the movement we started four years ago to expand access to computer science and increase participation
by women and underrepresented minorities,” said founder and CEO Hadi Partovi in a statement to TechCrunch.
Coding Clubs
While school districts may indeed be building coding programs into their class structure, after-school clubs cost virtually nothing and are relatively unfettered by traditional curriculum structures. Zach Latta, executive director and founder of San Francisco- based Hack Club, has sparked the coding flames in recent years, providing curricula free of charge to help students
“We use free programs to make sure we get 100% coverage for all the kids.”
— J.D. Ferries-Rowe, CIO, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep
Makey Makey Boards for $300.” Brebeuf recently started doing
coding-related virtual reality (VR) design using “co-spaces,” which sells blocks of student licenses in groups of 50 for $75. Ferries-Rowe explains: “You can go to
a company with a real dollar sign pitch and say, ‘Here’s how much it costs for
an individual license to co-space, and
we want 50 licenses to do the following projects and skills that you as a company
Hex Bugs for $5 or $10 per unit, and your club keeps a $1 or $2 per unit of profit. That’s a school-by-school decision. I
find it’s more effective to make the pitch to affiliated corporations that have real world reasons to donate, rather than try to get kids to sell something.”
Federal Funds
To varying degrees, the federal government has also set its sights on

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