Exciting Announcement: WE'RE HIRING!!!

We're incredibly excited to announce that we're hiring for the next HackSchool Director position in Denver, CO!

[We'll be announcing a number of other positions over the coming weeks and months--from data and curriculum to operations--so subscribe here if you'd like to keep updated on that!]

It's a pretty amazing opportunity (one that I know is a dream position for a lot of people, and it certainly would have been for me when I was starting out) so please pass this along to anyone you know who might even have a 1% chance of being interested. The full info is below (embedded and you can download this posting here), but here's a little about the people who might be excited about applying:

Lots of hustle; entrepreneurial; wants to make a big impact now and in the coming years on local, national, and international levels; skills in both software development and circuits; deep understanding of what it means to live as part of a marginalized group of people; great relationship skills and high emotional intelligence; thrives with an abundance of freedom; has vision and is thoughtful about having a lasting impact.

Deadline: rolling applications until EOD Friday, May 12, 2017.
Position: begins July 1, 2017 (small amount of flexibility), in Denver, CO.

Download the posting here!



Quick Update from India!

Thought we'd share a quick update on our work for Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad, India! Below are pictures of some of our students (Carlos and Shukri) with some of the materials, and below that is a picture we just received of students in India using their materials. SOOOOOO AWESOME!!!!

For more background on this project, check out this link!



Refugees Make Beautiful Patriots

Shukri's parents were Somali refugees, and her home country is America.

Shukri's parents were Somali refugees, and her home country is America.

Shukri's brother died in Somalia. He was six. Her family fled poverty and violence soon after and gained refugee status in Kenya, the US, and eventually earned American citizenship.

They left their home, friends, and family in search of a safe place for their children. Throat cutting and gang rape were commonplace in Somalia. Shukri's mother remembers that, "You’d walk on the street and see people getting shot in front of your eyes, people left Somalia because they didn’t want to watch people die."

Shukri is an American citizen, and she is my student. This makes me happy because though the refugee process took years, the United States recognized that our country is better because of her.

She is in high school and wants to be a biochemical engineer:

"My parents didn’t have a chance to change the world. They had to make sure we survived. I want to take advantage of what they’ve worked so hard to bring me. This is how my childhood shaped my ambitions to help people."

I've gotten to know this incredibly thoughtful and intelligent young woman over the past two years. As an educator, it's humbling to know students like Shukri: when she concentrates on a problem, the intensity is electric.

On top of schoolwork, she is leading two projects at one of America's first socially-conscious makerspaces. Her first project, a low-cost prosthetic robotic arm, and the second, a network of "smart" free food pantries located in our lower-income neighborhood in Denver, CO. She is focused on improving the lives of real people in our Denver community, and she works hard every day to repay her parents and the country that gave her a real shot at life.

America made a wise decision to grant Shukri's family citizenship, and we did so without alienating entire nations. Shukri's work to help our local community—and her achievements as a young American—will strengthen our country and make us safer.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: she is Muslim.

I asked Shukri her take on the recent travel ban, and here's what she said:

“I’ve never lived in Somalia, so I don’t know exactly what it’s like. I was born and raised in America, and I had it a lot better than my parents. But from their hard work and struggle to get me where I am today, I know that these refugees are not bad people—they’re just trying to help their kids through life without going through the same thing. Not everyone is what Muslims are perceived as right now, people are coming here for reasons different than what Trump is trying to say we’re coming here for.”

We don't need to alienate nations to be safe. People like Shukri make us safe.

As an educator, I've had to think very hard about what to say to my high school students in the middle of all this. I'm reminded of what my teachers said to me after 9/11. They told me that the goal of terrorism is to strike enough fear into our hearts that, in our frenzy to maintain safety, we harm ourselves. This strikes me as correct, and I believe it's something we've lost track of in the years since.

America must be strong, and we must continue to create great patriots like Shukri.