Mar 2, 2021

We prepare the students for the digital present

During the current reporting period in Telerik Academy School (TAS) we welcomed the new and hopefully successful year 2021.

During the current school year, conditions change dynamically, and to mitigate unforeseen circumstances we are in constant communication with all local partners and update the status of each cohort regularly, taking ad-hock measures. To ensure full delivery of the programs, we have encouraged teachers to be even more flexible in timing and style of teaching and are ready to prolong the training delivery period till July 2021 or organize intensive training-camp-type of classes during the spring and summer holidays if the conditions make this the most viable option.

Based on the current health measures and local conditions, we have:

  • 87 cohorts conducting our programs in an online format.
  • 4 cohorts with status “waiting” and will start as soon as possible.
  • 14 in-kind cohorts delivered in an online format.
  • 8 cohorts for which the conditions do not allow delivery during the current conditions and will be delivered next school year.

We have evidence that even the best quality programs when delivered online have higher drop-out rates. That is why we anticipate such a tendency for our cohorts as well. To mitigate this risk as much as possible we instructed teachers to bring down the pace of teaching, invest time in teaching students’ critical skills which will be needed for the successful online implementation of the programs, allow for gradual immersion in new concepts and monitor children’s individual development.

What's Next

Great things are ahead of us. We are happy to announce that despite the turmoil in all spheres of life we have a strong conviction in the ever-growing need for our trainings and manage to address not only ad-hock needs and changes but also look at the greater picture and put strategic efforts in our development.

In these uncertain times, we strive to plan ahead and already prepare for the implementation of our next school year, upgrading our program materials, teacher trainings, and digital tools. In February we launched our 2021-2022 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. Aiming at an increase in our student body of 20% we welcome suggestions for prospective donors and partnerships with local administrations, schools, teachers, and local facilities who would support that growth. You have an idea for a city with great potential supporters, where we can open new cohorts? Let us know!

Further developing our funding base, we are going to conduct microdonation campaigns aimed at the parents of our students. For this purpose, we are currently creating individual web pages with materials and donation campaigns for 5 cities, which we will launch as a pilot and hope to share with you soon.

Motivated by our students’ achievements, despite the online format of teaching, we continue our work for the successful completion of the school year and anticipate the final projects of the pupils in our programs. Also, we are currently working on an external evaluation of our work and impact over the years. Like our donors, we will update you on the results as soon as they are ready.

We’d like to take the time to extend our utmost gratitude to you for your support and for making this journey for all our kids possible. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without your contribution!

Thank you for supporting us!

Dec 3, 2020

Start of the new school year 2020/2021

It has been a dynamic start of the new school year here at Telerik Academy School. The last three months laid the foundation for the entire school year and more than ever we relied on all our partners to help us face the challenges.

Your donor support makes training Bulgarian kids for the jobs of the future possible. Thank you for endorsing this cause!

Overview: What we accomplished with your help

During the current reporting period, we focused our time and energy on envisioning agile approaches that will allow us to successfully prepare, start and carry on our cohorts for the 2020-2021 school year within the uncertainties and changing conditions. We laid out a successful strategy and are happy to report that we have reached most of our core goals. Despite the pandemic, we increased our reach to:

  • 2,543 students, enrolled in our programs.
  • Within 113 cohorts, which will be conducted during the school year in 33 cities.
  • Working with 65 trainers throughout the country.

We expanded our portfolio

Based on the success of the 8-12 grade Web Development program and feedback from our parent and student surveys at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, in addition to the scaling of our existing programs, we decided to pilot a new Web Development program for 4-7 grade students with 1 cohort in Sofia. Our aim for this school year is to test, validate and prepare program content materials for teachers. If the program proves scalable, we will consider opening pilot cohorts outside Sofia during the next school year.

In total, we have 7 programs for the 4-7 and 8-12 grade age groups.

Admission campaign:

In September and October 2020 our admission campaign for the new school year took place. We increased its duration both based on the feedback of our teachers and the expectation that the new situation will change people’s habits in planning and choosing extracurricular activities. We changed our traditional more hands-on, locally administered approach to a more centralized and tech mediated. As a result of our massive marketing campaign, we had 174,500+ website visits during the admission period alone and more than 3,100 applicants. 

During the period September-October we constantly monitored the development of the pandemic in Bulgaria and the measures taken by the government. We anticipated that the measures would be gradually tightened which would affect the delivery format of our program. For this reason, we determined in advance four possible scenarios for the cohorts’ delivery and envisioned different approaches toward each one of them:

  • Online – cohorts which conduct the training in an online format.
  • Onsite – cohorts who can comply with the measures of the health authorities and can conduct onsite meetings.
  • Mixed – cohorts in which 50% of the students come onsite, the rest participate online, and the groups switch every one or two meetings.
  • Waiting – cohorts whose conditions necessitate us to wait and start delivery later. This usually happens for reasons like: the sponsors prefer to start the program when regulations will allow onsite meetings; teachers or their close relatives are currently ill with coronavirus, or have gone through it during the last weeks, and are not in shape to start teaching.

We are in constant communication with all local partners and update the status of each cohort dynamically with changes in the conditions.

Based on the current health measures and local conditions as of December 1st, we have:

  • 86 cohorts conducting our programs in an online format.
  • 12 cohorts with status “waiting” and will start as soon as possible.
  • 11 in-kind cohorts that are in an online format.
  • 4 in-kind cohorts which will start in February 2021.

What's Next

The 2020-2021 school year promises to be challenging and we will keep our flexible approach to try and answer the needs of our students as best as possible. We also keep focus on the future and have even more ambitious plans for the upcoming years. By the end of 2024, we aim to prepare another 10,500 students for the professions of the future, reaching 35+ Bulgarian cities, further develop our portfolio of programs and train more teachers to be the movers and shakers of Bulgarian IT and programming education.

 

We would 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 for the future!

Stay well and thank you for supporting us!

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!

 
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