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 took - overview:
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!