It’s exactly five years since Code.org launched with the video What Most Schools Don’t Teach.
Since then, tens of millions of students have begun learning computer science, hundreds of thousands of schools have begun teaching CS, tens of thousands of teachers have attended workshops to introduce CS in their classrooms, hundreds of school districts have added CS to their curriculum, and forty U.S. states and 25 countries have announced policies and plans to support CS in schools. This teacher-led movement has won the support of celebrities, business leaders, athletes, and even presidents and prime ministers.
When we launched Code.org five years ago, everybody cautioned that changing public education was impossible. It was unthinkable to imagine that within just ten months we’d win the support of the President of the United States. It was unthinkable to imagine that almost 1 million teachers would sign up to teach computer science on our platform, or that over 11 million girls would begin coding on Code.org — ending a 20-year decline in female participation in computer science. In just five years, the impossible has become reality.
As we turn five years old, we want to dedicate our anniversary to all the incredible partners who have made this possible. Every month we talk about the progress in K-12 computer science, but we don’t pause enough to thank everybody who has played a role.
Code.org isn’t alone in our mission. There are many others pursuing similar goals — some working in concert with Code.org as partners, others working independently, perhaps tackling things from a different angle. Regardless, we are all part of a multi-decade history of effort, and our collective success builds on each other’s work.
We should start by thanking our amazing donors, particularly Amazon, Facebook, Google, Infosys, and Microsoft. Whether it’s corporate funders, foundations, or individual donors, without your generous funding, we wouldn’t exist. But there are soooooo many other partners who have helped us build and grow this movement:
Launching the Hour of Code as a global movement for computer science wouldn’t have been possible without the tutorials built by organizations like Tynker, KhanAcademy, Scratch, CS First, codeSpark, or Kodable. While we are fond of Code.org’s own coding platform, we are always proud to promote the resources of partners, whether they provide 1-hour tutorials or entire courses such as Bootstrap or Project GUTS.
Reaching tens of millions of students wouldn’t have been possible without the help of countless organizations like DonorsChoose, Girl Scouts, or NCWIT. Reaching hundreds of thousands of teachers wouldn’t have been possible without the help of organizations like the College Board, CS Teachers Association, or ISTE.
Hosting workshops for tens of thousands of teachers wouldn’t have been possible without a team of passionate expert facilitators, and organizations such as Science Foundation of Arizona and Grand Canyon University, Broward County Public Schools, or West Virginia University that form a network of almost 60 Regional Partners who are now the backbone of K-12 computer science in the U.S.
Outside the U.S., our work is amplified by Programma Il Futuro, Fundaçao Lemann, Minna No Code, and a network of dozens of international partners who share our mission and are working towards the same goal — to bring the opportunity to learn computer science to schools in every community in the world.
Our own Code Studio, a coding platform and online curriculum that supports tens of millions of students and hundreds of thousands of teachers, wouldn’t be possible without infrastructure providers such as AWS, GitHub, Sauce Labs, Tableau, Zendesk, and many others. And the super-fun activities we’ve created for students wouldn’t shine quite as bright without the help of Anna and Elsa from Frozen, the Angry Birds, Steve and Alex from Minecraft, or Leia, Rey, R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8 from Star Wars.
Establishing the K-12 Computer Science Framework that has helped guide education standards throughout the U.S. and abroad wouldn’t have been possible without the steering leadership of ACM, CIC, CSTA, and NMSI, or all the stakeholders who participated from schools, universities, nonprofits, corporations, and governments.
Speaking of governments, Code.org has been fortunate to have the support of local and national governments, both in the U.S. and abroad, thanks to the leadership of legislators, governors, prime ministers, and presidents, representing every end of the political spectrum. Heads of state from almost a dozen countries have answered our call to help boost computer science in schools, and in the U.S. we’ve had the support of the federal government under two administrations.
We’re particularly fortunate and proud to have had the vocal support of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg since day one, and the support of President Barack Obama when we were less than a year-old. And over the years we’ve been blessed to have the help of celebrities like Shakira or Ashton Kutcher, business leaders like Sheryl Sandberg or Reid Hoffman or Susan Wojcicki, and athletes like Stephen Curry or Serena Williams. Each of these individuals receives countless requests for help, and we are thankful that they all chose to use their voice to support Code.org in our mission to increase access and diversity in computer science in schools.
And none of our work would be possible without the extended team that supports the work of Code.org. We have not only our own team at Code.org to thank but dozens of volunteers also. Whether you work(ed) full time at Code.org, helped contribute to our coding platform or our curriculum, helped translate a tutorial, or simply volunteered in a classroom, we owe our success to you. We also thank our amazing Board of Directors, our many advisors, and our Diversity Council. Code.org has been fortunate to have so many advisors guiding our way. There are too many to list. Whether it’s the organizational advice of board members like Brad Smith, Maggie Johnson, Bobby Schnabel, and Jeff Wilke, countless phone calls in the early days with folks like Jan Cuny and Ed Lazowska, the ongoing advice of friends like Gregg Fleisher, Jane Broom, Emmanuel Schanzer, Chris Stephenson, and Leigh Ann Delyser, the thought leadership of researchers such as Mark Guzdial, Jane Margolis, and Andy Ko, or the example set by NSF-funded university efforts such as BJC and ECS, and many, many others, all of you have helped us in some way, small or large, with your support.
Finally, the real work of Code.org happens in schools and classrooms, where passionate teachers come to work each day, opening new doors of opportunity for children. Whether you’re an administrator in the hundreds of schools and school districts that are embracing computer science, whether you’re a school counselor encouraging students to try CS (especially girls and underrepresented minorities), or whether you’re one of the 750,000 classroom teachers who has decided to take the plunge, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for leading this movement, and for joining us behind the vision that every student in every school deserves the opportunity to learn computer science.
We dedicate our 5th anniversary to all of you. Here’s to achieving the impossible, and to an even more amazing next five years.
Hadi Partovi, Code.org
P.S. Above all I’d like to thank my twin brother Ali Partovi, who provided the initial funding to start Code.org, inspired us to dream big, helped launch the organization and the Hour of Code, and has supported us over the years.
P.P.S. There were too many names of people and organizations to list each individually, so if yours wasn’t mentioned, please forgive me. If we made a glaring oversight, sorry! Drop us a note so we can fix it.