BPS tech chief: Schools can help big employer


City schools offer computer science courses and 1,000 students were recently given paid internships at local tech companies — a few of the talking points City Hall could use to lure Amazon.com Inc. to the Hub.

As part of its request for bids for a proposed North American headquarters, Amazon says it will consider what schools are offering for computer science.

Boston Public Schools Director of Technology Mark Racine told the Herald the city’s students are “definitely” prepared to fill jobs.

“Our goal is to make sure kids are ready to enter into either pathway — vocational or higher ed,” Racine said.

The district, he added, would welcome an opportunity to partner with the giant tech company so students “can take the skills they learn in the classroom and apply it to real life.”

The district offers a seven-week paid internship at local tech companies. More than 1,000 students took part in the program last year. The more than 50 participating companies, which covered the costs of training the students, included Microsoft, State Street and Apple.

Much of the BPS computer science curriculum is also based on lessons supported by Amazon.

BPS offers a curriculum made by code.org, a nonprofit set up to increase computer science in schools and partly funded by Amazon, Microsoft and Google, Racine said.

The course is a BPS elective for high school students, but Racine said the district is giving a “strong push” to encourage students to sign up.

“It is a national standard,” Racine said.

Meanwhile, four schools — Madison Park, English High, Urban Science Academy and Boston International — are offering vocational classes to get students ready for jobs right after graduation.



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