Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future

by Telerik Academy Foundation
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future
Prepare Bulgarian Kids for the Jobs of the Future

As the 2020/2021 school year draws to an end, we reflect on a dynamic, challenging and successful one. Your continued support allows us to deliver on our mission to train Bulgarian kids for the jobs of the future and improve our performance and impact every year.

Our shared achievements

With your help, we expanded our reach during the 2020/2021 academic year:

  • Launched 113 cohorts in 33 cities and villages across Bulgaria, compared to 102 cohorts in 25 settlements last year,
  • Enrolled over 2,500 students, compared to 2,000 students last year.
  • Delivered our programs in partnership with 65 contractors, in comparison with 50 last year.
  • Expanded our network of supporters, attracting a larger number of individual donors, private companies, foundations, and municipalities.

During this school year, following the official healthcare guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, our programs were held online. The pandemic has had a significant impact on educators and students, and our team worked tirelessly to ensure that programs ran smoothly. Adapting the entire process to online delivery, we made sure that students and contractors were well-supported.

Here’s what Valya Marinova, one of our contractors in Pazardzhik, shares: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to be part of the Telerik Academy School’s team this school year. Although I had some doubts at first, I knew I made the right decision to join the initiative when I met the team for the first time during the teacher training last July, and then meeting my students in October. The classes based on Telerik Academy School’s program are among the most gratifying lessons I teach this school year!
Thank you for the opportunity, for the pleasant and fruitful work, for the support, for the speed and expertise with which you answer every question or problem that arises.”

When it comes to implementation, we introduced and continue to work on key improvements to our programs, including upgraded learning materials and digital tools.

Currently, our cohorts are at the end of their training and soon we will be able to congratulate our students and teachers with the successful conclusion of the school year and share their accomplishments with you.

In our efforts to further engage our community and differentiate our sources of funding, we launched a total of nine microdonation campaigns aimed at several distinct groups:

  • parents of our current students, split into five city-specific and one general campaign,
  • employees of a software company,
  • a local community,
  • the members of a coworking space.

To test the potential of such campaigns, we created individual web pages with relevant information and donation appeals and crafted supporting communication strategies for each one. Currently, some of the campaigns are still ongoing, but we are seeing very positive results in terms of engagement and contributions and will further explore such approaches. We already have more than 220 new individual contributors and the collected funds will support the training of over 80 children.

Dedicated to continuous improvement and data-based decision making, we are currently working in cooperation with our main donor, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, on an external evaluation. An expert organization is examining our work and impact over the years, and we are eager to learn the results and share them with you once the process is complete.
In case you understand Bulgarian, you could browse these interesting articles from the past school year:

What lies ahead

Looking towards the 2021/2022 school year, our focus is to expand our reach geographically, providing opportunities for a growing number of students, ensuring financial support from a wide array of sources, and polishing our existing programs.
We are planning an extensive and exciting summer training program for our growing network of teachers, where we will present the improvements to programs and systems we are preparing for next year.

Our goal for the next school year is to launch 130 cohorts in 35 settlements in Bulgaria. This would give 2,700 students the opportunity to receive completely free, high-quality digital skills training that would prepare them for the jobs of the future.

To ensure we can achieve such growth, we are carrying out a campaign to attract the necessary support by expanding our current and creating new partnerships. Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response, we managed to establish relationships with a number of businesses, individual donors and organizations. At this point, we have secured 110 cohorts out of the 130 we are aiming to launch. We would happily welcome suggestions for prospective donors and partners in the face of private companies, individuals, local administrations, schools, teachers, and local facilities who would support our cause. Let us know if you have any ideas!

Your continued support and engagement make it possible for us to provide Bulgarian kids with equal access to digital skills training, improving their abilities and opening doors to their future development. Thank you for your valuable contribution!

 

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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!

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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!

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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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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!

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Organization Information

Telerik Academy Foundation

Location: Sofia - Bulgaria
Website:
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Project Leader:
Telerik Academy
Sofia, Bulgaria
$60,321 raised of $75,000 goal
 
493 donations
$14,679 to go
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