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Canyon Ridge High School Educator Named an Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year

  • Amazon awards San Bernardino-area computer science teacher David J. Rodriguez and his school, Canyon Ridge High, a prize package valued at over $50,000 for exemplar work with students
  • Rodriguez is one of ten award recipients chosen among thousands of eligible teachers from across the U.S., recognized for going above and beyond to inspire his students to build skills in computer science and to promote diversity and inclusion in the field
  • Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try computer science

HESPERIA, CA – David J. Rodriguez, a Math teacher at Hesperia’s Canyon Ridge High School has been selected among thousands of eligible teachers as a 2020 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipient.

Rodriguez will receive a prize package valued at more than $50,000 for Canyon Ridge High School – which includes $25,000 for the school and an additional $25,000 in school supplies, including Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablets, classroom essentials from AmazonBasics, and additional items from Amazon Essentials. Rodriguez also received one full year of Amazon Music Unlimited and a 12-month Gold Gift Membership.

Rodriguez learned of the honor at the school’s drive-up graduation ceremony, where principal Scott Ahlgren surprised him with a shipment from Amazon filled with Amazon Future Engineer swag.

“I am proud and honored to have been picked for this award, because I am similar to many of my students, learning the content for the first time,” said Rodriguez. “This is the first year that we brought coding to Canyon Ridge, and it was challenging, but the collaboration and discussions that happened in the classroom because of it were unforgettable. This award will allow me to expand the technology in my class. It means further access for students, stronger and more capable equipment for coding and ESports, and a potential for a deeper and richer learning environment. We are an ‘alternative’ education school that welcomes and attracts students that ‘don’t fit in’ with the larger comprehensive schools. The success of this program shines a light on our school and our students, highlighting what we can achieve together.”

“Canyon Ridge is beyond proud of Mr. Rodriguez and his achievements.  Mr. Rodriguez is always on the lookout for new opportunities to deliver instruction in new and meaningful ways.  He seeks out challenges and encourages his fellow staff to do the same.  He has helped to build many new programs on campus that help to connect students to their learning and real-life skills.  It is an honor to work with him!  This achievement not only validates the work that has already been done in our new coding and Esports program but allows us the opportunity to seek new challenges as we continue to expand our program,” said Mr. Scott Ahlgren, Principal of Canyon Ridge.

The coding and Esports class teaches the fundamentals of coding while also bringing in the teamwork and competitive elements found within Esports.  The students have built computers, competed in Esports tournaments, and developed successful lines of code as a team.  Many of our students have learned the importance of their core classes through the lens of coding and Esports, most importantly, statistics, number sense, and the reading and comprehension of informational text.

“Teachers are beloved in communities across the country, and we are excited to celebrate their hard work, passion, and commitment to their students’ future success,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO, Amazon Worldwide Consumer. “Computer science skills will be of vital importance as we take on and solve the challenges of the future. We are thrilled to honor these teachers, who work with students in underserved and underrepresented communities and promote diversity and inclusion in their classrooms and beyond, with our first Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards.”

Award recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, which included their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator, and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students. Scholarship America reviewed applicants and selected the award recipients. Amazon awarded ten teachers from across the country with this inaugural Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that this year, there are 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a small percentage from underserved backgrounds. Students from underserved backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.

Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of young people to explore computer science; awards dozens of schools Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grants provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships; as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience, and forms unique partnerships with trusted institutions to bring new coding experiences to students. Amazon has invested more than $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country. In California, more than 250  high schools are part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. Amazon Future Engineer is also supporting students of all ages amid the COVID-19 pandemic with free, online curriculum.

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