Salesforce.org brings Circle the Schools to the UK and Ireland

By Salesforce.org | October 24, 2016 | , , | 1-1-1 Model, STEM

St. Peter’s Primary School, Wicklow, Ireland and School21, London receive $100,000 grant and engagement plan from Salesforce.org

Today’s educational institutions face incredible pressure to engage and prepare students for a 21st century career. Growing demands for digital literacy and STEM skills means that schools have to re-examine curriculum and also their approach at delivering this curriculum to ensure students are well equipped to deal with life in the digital age. And while at their core, every school wants to set students up for success – without access to vital resources, students are often left underserved.

We are delighted to announce a partnership with St. Peter’s Primary School in Bray, Co.Wicklow, Ireland and School21 in London as part of the Circle the Schools program. In addition to this, each school will receive a grant of $100,000 from Salesforce.org to help them execute their planned STEM education programs.

Circle the Schools is an initiative created by sf.citi in partnership with SFUSD and the San Francisco Education Fund, allowing companies to adopt schools and develop relationships with principals and faculty. Each school will be matched with a Salesforce executive sponsor and a team of employees who will participate in volunteer activities throughout the year.

Salesforce.org’s partnership with St. Peter’s and School21 aims to level the playing field so that students from underrepresented areas can fulfill their greatest potential accessing the resources and expertise they deserve.

“We’re really excited to be supporting these two worthy schools through our Circle the Schools initiative,” said Charlotte Finn, Vice President, EMEA Programs at Salesforce.org. “School is a place where children’s futures are shaped and we believe that all children should have the same opportunities for their future development. Circle the Schools is an important initiative that gives schools the necessary resources to make significant difference to children’s lives. Through our support of schools in the US, we have already seen the positive impact of the programme and our goal is to bring that success to St. Peter’s Primary School and School21.”

St. Peter’s, Bray – Building a Foundation for a Child’s Future

St. Peter’s Primary School was awarded DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) status in 2005 in an effort to address educational disadvantages, and in 2014 became a fully vertical co-ed school, resulting in a growth of over 100% in just one year. This growth meant that St. Peter’s had to resign some of its pivotal amenities, like their library and computer room, to allow for classroom space, meaning students no longer had access to these additional resources required to develop digital and literacy skills.

A portion of the grant St. Peter’s is receiving from Salesforce.org will go towards rebuilding these two crucial resources and also towards introducing a multi-sensory room to allow students a place to re-set and re-focus, while aiding creativity and supporting children with complex needs.

Emer Whyte, Principal, St. Peter’s Bray said: “We are privileged to have been given the opportunity to form a collaboration with Salesforce and we are confident that this will have an extremely positive impact on both student academic attainment and their overall educational experience. We look forward to developing a shared vision which will result in whole-school improvements in STEM, IT, Special Educational Needs, Literacy and Numeracy. We are very grateful to Salesforce and are fully committed to making this shared vision become a reality for our school.”

St.Peter's Bray Kids playing Lego League

Salesforce employees will also have an important role to play in this partnership. In additional to assisting children with STEM projects and setting up a CoderDojo, Salesforce employees will be rolling out an ICT program to help parents get up to speed with technology, enabling them to support their child’s development in this area.

“At Salesforce, we have long believed that we have a responsibility to help create opportunities for our young people to learn digital skills,” said Dr. David Dempsey, Executive Director and Senior Vice President at Salesforce. “We have such a vibrant technology sector in this country and the opportunities that exist within it are only going to continue to grow. We need to make sure that we support our young people so that they are in a position to take advantage. We’re delighted to be able to lend our expertise to work holistically with the children, teachers and parents at St. Peter’s Bray to further this cause.”

School21 – Digital Accessibility for All

School21 is committed to changing the way students learn, yet are aware of the difficulties in truly integrating technology within an educational environment. With the support from Salesforce.org and Salesforce volunteers, School21 will not only have access to the tools they need to support technology integration, but also the manpower and expertise to assist children in literacy development and executing new STEM programs within the school’s curriculum.

School21 kids

Using the grant, School21 will equip every student and staff member with an iPad, making digital information and literacy projects more accessible. The aim is to assist those with learning difficulties so that they can access learning aids more easily, and also to increase the overall digital skill-set of the students in an effort to improve employability. 

“Visiting School21, I was impressed by the school’s innovative approach to embed technology as part of the day-to-day education for its students,” said Andrew Lawson, UKI Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Northern Europe and Emerging Markets at Salesforce. “I believe it is the responsibility of everyone currently working in the industry to excite our next generation about the opportunities in technology and this programme is a great example of how we can do that now and in the future.”

Salesforce will be involved every step of the way. From setting up a CoderDojo at the school, to working with Year 10 students to implement and deploy a Salesforce CRM for School21. Volunteers from Salesforce will also be involved in a literacy program for Year 1 students, a math support program for students and various mentoring and STEM programs throughout the academic year.

“At School 21, we believe in developing rounded students who are prepared for life in the twenty-first century – but we know that we can’t achieve this ambition alone. Salesforce.org has been instrumental in providing people, time and expertise to help make this vision a reality. Participating in multiple projects across multiple year groups and areas of the school, each and every Salesforce volunteer has had a meaningful impact on the lives of our students, helping to grow them as a person, and equipping them with the skills, knowledge and attributes they need to thrive in the twenty-first century.” Mr Peter Hyman, Executive Headteacher, School21

What’s Next?

Salesforce.org is committed to supporting education and STEM initiatives and plans to expand the Circle the Schools program across Europe in 2016/17. As the EU continues to face a digital skills gap with hundreds of thousands of job placements not filled, Salesforce.org hopes to assist in tackling these issues by working directly with schools local to Salesforce offices.