Sep 1, 2020

Preparation for the new school year 2020/2021

Overview: What we accomplished with your help

It was an active summer in Telerik Academy School, focused on taking the lessons learned from the 2019-2020 school year and making sure we face the upcoming 2020-2021 stronger than ever.

In the period June-August we:

  • Ensured funding for 110 groups in 33 cities (a growth of 24% compared to last year): Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Vratsa, Gabrovo, Dospat, Zlatograd, Kardzhali, Lovech, Lukovit, Montana, Panagyurishte, Pleven, Parvomay, Razgrad, Rudozem, Sevlievo, Silistra, Smolyan, Stara Zagora, Harmanli, Yambol and the village of Ablanitsa, as well as for the first time in Belogradchik, Devin, Dobrich, Kyustendil, Madan, Pazardzhik, Peshtera, Ruse and Haskovo.
  • Solicited 52 partners, providing venues for our regional programs.
  • Trained 12 new teachers for the current academic year, which increases the total number to 62 contractors.
  • Updated our systems and prepared for the online application process.
  • Testing our new program in Web Development for 8-12 graders in 2 pilot cohorts in Vratsa and Plovdiv and kick-starting a cohort for 4-7 graders in Sofia, to test and update the program materials and content.
  • Testing new measuring tools for assessment of our students’ learning through the year.

Today we are announcing the opening of our admission campaign for the 2020-2021 school year. The applications will be held entirely online from September 1st till October 11th and are open to students grades 1-12 in 33 cities in the country. Students in grades 4-12 can choose between 5 interactive programs in the field of digital technology and programming, each with a duration of 100 teaching hours and corresponding to their age and interests. For the youngest (grades 1-3) programming workshops are planned in Sofia in partnership with CoderDojo Bulgaria.

We plan to start our trainings in November and give over 2000 children and young people the opportunity to study programming and digital sciences for free in our 110 groups throughout Bulgaria. We will make decisions on the format of the trainings (online or in-person) in accordance with the most current recommendations of the health authorities and the conditions of our local partners.

Programs for all ages

The trainings for 8-12 grades will be organized in Sofia and the country. With a practical orientation and based on modern technologies, they support the career orientation of students and their subsequent professional realization. High school students can choose between one of 3 programs:

- "Digital Sciences", in which they are acquainted with the professions of the future and how to be successful in them while learning about the latest technologies;

- "Game Development", in which they will use some of the widest spread technologies in the world: HTML, CSS and JavaScript and begin creating interactive computer games;

- "Web Development ", in which they learn the basics of programming and web design and how to create their own websites.

Trainings for 4-7 grades will also be held in Sofia and the country. They develop key digital skills, and students can choose between 4 programs:

- "Digital Sciences", where students learn what are the basic principles behind the new technologies and how to use them;

- "Game Development ", in which they learn to program while creating computer games;

- "Competitive Development ", where they acquire in-depth knowledge of programming, develop their logical thinking and prepare for computer science competitions;

- "Web Development ", in which they learn to create their first sites.

For children in 1-3 grades, programming workshops will be organized by CoderDojo Bulgaria in partnership with Telerik Academy School. The youngest students will learn to create interactive games and applications under the mentorship of experienced volunteers. They will be held in the training centre of the Academy in Sofia.

We’d like to take the time to once more extend our utmost gratitude to you, our donors, who are making this journey for all our kids possible. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without your support and we have a lot more planned for the future!

Stay well and thank you for supporting us!

Jun 3, 2020

Closing another successful academic year in Telerik Academy School

So much has changed in Telerik Academy School (TAS) during the current reporting period due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Constantly monitoring the international news, we knew we must act fast and we did so, preceding the declared state of emergency in Bulgaria. Our entire team worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our students, teachers, colleagues, and their loved ones and to provide online access to our programs, which are traditionally implemented entirely in an on-site format.

In these circumstances, our mission - to prepare children for the digital future - is more relevant than ever, as the digital future is happening now. In the 2019-2020 school year alone, we are teaching programming and digital skills to over 2,000 students in grades 1-12.

The measures we tookoverview:

Prioritizing the health of our community, we stopped all face-to-face trainings a week before the Government announced a state of emergency. In the meantime, we had already begun preparations for the transition to an online learning format. A difficult task, given that our trainings are attended by thousands of children and take place in 102 schools in 25 settlements throughout the country, delivered by a network of 50 teachers. There was no possibility for a one-size-fits-all solution.

We solicited feedback from the teachers and parents of our students as well as our local partners to determine if they are ready to continue the trainings online and to find the best format and timing for their unique situation. At the end of March, 82% of our groups have transitioned to an online form of education. We continue to operate with the highest professionalism and quality.

Our top priority continues to be ensuring a positive and fulfilling learning experience for our students.

To ensure this:

  • We prepared detailed recommendations and online teaching best practices to our teachers, encouraging them to use all this accumulated knowledge as a basis and upgrade it to fit their circumstances.
  • We entrusted them with the necessary flexibility and freedom to adapt the approach to the needs and progress of their students.
  • We ensured our students have free access to online learning materials.
  • We provide regular tips for effective learning, coping strategies, and safe use of the Internet, to support our students’ and teachers’ easier and more effective adaptation to the new environment.
  • Our teachers organize weekly sessions, tracking the students’ development, and providing close communication and feedback, which are the basis of our trainings.

Some of our teachers share how the online trainings goes:

„Once again, Telerik Academy School helped the dreams of teachers, students, parents, and whole families come true with the opportunity to continue our sessions online. When I teach new material, the students listen and see what I write on the screen. Then they have time to write their own solution to the assignments. They all participate actively in helping each other, showing their solutions and everyone is happy and feels like a team again. I share a video recording of the whole lesson that they can watch later,“ Tsvetana, Plovdiv

„My biggest motivation in this new endeavour comes from the enthusiasm of the children. The trainings at Telerik Academy School are "entertainment" for them and an opportunity to communicate with each other,“ Todorka, Veliko Tarnovo

„Efficiency is a matter of good organization and ability to adapt to new conditions. For me, positive attitude and optimism, the ability to look at every situation from the positive side, to find meaning, to learn a lesson are key,“ Petya, Vratsa

How do students cope with online school and our trainings?

„As a future graduate, the priorities and interests in my life have long been clear. I want to study programming in the Netherlands this fall, and I think that Telerik Academy School trainings are extremely important for achieving my goal. Studying at TAS is my key priority,“ Yanaki, student

„It is important for me to combine school and my studies at Telerik Academy School because I want to learn to program. I think the Game Development program is the right place for me. I make sure to combine my commitments, before each TAS session I finish all my tasks related to school. This way I can fully focus on the new material,“ Rumen, student

„To optimize the workload, I assess which of the tasks require the most effort and do them first, so that the easier tasks remain for later. Since the tasks from Telerik Academy School are quite interesting to me, I am motivated to do them even later in the day. At school, no one shows us what our future opportunities are. I think that studying at the Academy will help me move in the right direction for me and that's why it's worth the effort,“ Krasimira, student

How did we manage?

Last month we received the wonderful news that Hugh C. and Thomas Lord Fund through the GlobalGiving platform awarded a special donation of $15,000.00 to our project „Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future“. The additional funds contributed to the smooth transition to the online format and the end of the school year and provide bigger stability for the coming uncertain months. We would like to express our gratitude to Hugh C. and Thomas Lord Fund for their investment in the development of the future digital leaders of Bulgaria as well as the GlobalGiving team for their continuous support.

We would like to also thank the whole Telerik School Academy team, partners, teachers, parents, students for their tireless work, positivity, and curiosity, adapting to the challenges we face daily.

Last, but not least, to all the individual contributors, who supported us through these turbulent months – we couldn’t have done it without you.

Closing another successful academic year in Telerik Academy School (TAS).

In the 2019-2020 academic year, we educated 2000 students in 25 cities in Bulgaria enrolled in 102 cohorts. In partnership with 49 venue partners and 50 contractors, we almost doubled our network compared to last year. Currently, our students are working on their final projects and we are excited to see the results.

We are currently planning for the next academic year.

We are currently launching our 2020-2021 campaign for new cohort sponsorships around the country. We are looking to expand current and develop new partnerships that will allow us to provide even more children with access to our trainings.

Preparing for the 2020-2021 school year, we will further develop our programs and train more teachers to be the movers and shakers of education and prepare students for the professions of the future.

We’d like to take the time to once more extend our utmost gratitude to you, our donors, who are making this journey for all our kids possible. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without your support and we have a lot more planned for the future!

Stay well and thank you for supporting us!

Mar 4, 2020

We continue to change the lives of our students

During the current reporting period in Telerik Academy School (TAS) we said goodbye to 2019 and welcomed an even more exciting 2020.

Overview: What we accomplished with your help in the 2019-2020 school year

Originally, we planned to start the 2019/2020 school year with 80 cohorts in 20 cities, but thanks to you, we have 102 cohorts across 25 cities in Bulgaria.

  • 2179 students enrolled
  • 102 cohorts in 25 cities, compared to 65 cohorts in 15 cities (2018/2019), (Dojo, Digital Science, Competitive Development, Game Development, Web Development)
  • 48 delivery locations (facilities), compared to 29 during the previous school year
  • 28 sponsored cohorts, compared to 6 during the previous school year
  • We had more than 3,700+ candidates

In addition to the scaling of our existing programs, based on the interest stated in our parent and student surveys, we developed a brand-new program in Web Development for 8-12 graders and kick-started pilot cohorts in Sofia. Our aim for this school year is to test, validate and prepare materials for teachers. If the program proves scalable, we will consider opening pilot cohorts out of Sofia during the next school year.

Currently, our cohorts are developing wonderfully, and all involved – students, parents, teachers and schools - are excited by the results they see. We are happy to share with you some of their feedback and below you will find a couple of our latest photos.

“For a second year I am studying at Telerik Academy School, and this year I am learning Web Development. I take great pleasure in the classes because the atmosphere is extremely friendly and creative, and the bonus to the overall experience is that I already know what I want to do after I graduate. " – Boris, student

My son enjoys most of all his activities the time spent at Telerik Academy School! Thanks! – Desislava, parent

“My big son Nicky is admitted Computer Science and Engineering at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands, which is one of the most elite engineering universities in Europe. Massive thank you!" – Yordanka, parent

"Telerik Academy School adds new opportunities for our school in the field of ICT training, which we could not have previously provided at the same level. It is an attractive focal pointer for many of the talented children in the city who are interested in technology. TAS allows us to better organize the extracurricular activities of the students by encouraging them to seek expression within the environment they know and love." - Diana, Director of "Vasil Levski" Primary School in Razgrad

For the first time this year, we conducted mid-year qualifications for our Game Development students. By assessing the knowledge achieved we managed to place students in levels that better correspond to their current skills and improve their motivation. This also led to optimizing our groups and opening of a new cohort, which allows us to share our knowledge and educational programs with more students. We see this as a great opportunity to grow our impact.

Competitions

We organized the first 2 out of 4 planned online competitions for our students enrolled in the Competitive Development program. They aim at helping the youngsters get a sense of what Informatics competitions are and get accustomed to the format and tasks. This allows children to make an informed decision whether they like competing and prepare them for the real national and international tournaments and Olympiads.

We see a great effect from those competitions. Our students, alumni, and teachers showed amazing results in the national and international competitions in programming and IT during the last year. As a result of their incredible performance in the national competitions during the 2018-2019 school year, 21 were selected to participate in the teams that represented our country in the international informatics competitions during the summer and autumn. This makes up 87% of all students, chosen to represent Bulgaria.

We are especially proud that all Bulgarian participants in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) and European Junior Olympiad in Informatics (eJOI) were our alumni. They won a total of 8 medals - 1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze at the IOI, and 3 silver and 1 bronze at the eJOI.

What's Next

Telerik Academy School has ambitious plans for the upcoming years. We aim to equip as many kids, as possible with the key skills for the digital economy and fostering their logical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills. To achieve this goal, we plan to start the next school year with 132 cohorts in Bulgaria. We are currently launching our 2020-2021 campaign for new cohort sponsorships around the country. We are looking to expand our current and develop new partnerships that will allow us to provide even more children with access to our programs.

For the 2020-2021 school year, we will further develop our programs and train more teachers to be the movers and shakers of the education that prepares students for the professions of the future.

We’d like to take the time to extend our utmost gratitude to you, our donors, who are making this journey for all our kids possible. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without your support and we have a lot more planned next!

Thank you for supporting us!

 
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