Here at Ada, we are dedicated to changing the diversity of Tech. We are a learning organization and we understand that the path to social justice is a continual journey where we will make strides as well as missteps in our pursuit for equality. Our goal is to learn and grow so that we can better serve our students and better address our mission.
Given feedback from students and our own learnings from running Ada over the past year, we have heard several areas where we need to do more thinking:
How do we support students who start with no prior experience?
How do we address the intersectionality of our students both in our classroom and in our culture?
Who is our target student?
How do we foster a collaborative culture?
How do we better prepare and support instructors in the classroom?
How do we be more transparent, yet respect student privacy?
How do we make Ada more supportive for all students?
How do we balance the needs of students and sponsoring companies?
What can we do now to immediately impact C5 for the better?
We acknowledge that we need to find a way to implement improvements immediately, even if this is difficult while we are mid-stream with growing our program. For this reason, we have chosen to make schedule adjustments to C5 and C6 to give staff and board some room to pursue these necessary changes. We will launch Ada Jumpstart (formerly, Ada Bootcamp) in early January with online, open-source curriculum available to anyone interested. We will also have an in-person companion portion for new-to-code C5 Adies, beginning on January 25, meeting a couple days a week. Cohort 5 starts on Tuesday, February 16, 2015. This three week push out will allow us some time to improve upon efforts we are already working on as well as kick start a long series of improvements that we’d like to bring to Ada.
- We need to rewrite our mission and vision for Ada, as well as document our core values. Ada has learned a lot in our young couple years, and one of our biggest takeaways is that while Ada was started as a “coding school for women”, we now better understand our need to formally evolve our mission to include the intersectionality of our students. We need to be clear about who we target as a student and why.
- We need to update our website. It is not just important that we internally re-define our mission, vision, and values, but we want appropriately present ourselves to our applicants and community as well.
- We need to update of curriculum. Our curriculum iterates daily, but we need to sit down and reevaluate the overall sequencing and learning goals for our program.
- We need to define Ada Jumpstart (formerly Ada Bootcamp). We’ve been talking about the idea of giving exposure to students with no previous coding experience for a while. We need to concretely develop this idea to make it into something tangible and accessible, in a way that does not tax students but helps them become familiar with fundamentals in a positive way.
- We need to iron out some hiccups in our admissions process. There are lots of ways that our admissions process could be more streamlined from updates to our application rails app to how to overcome our over-reliance on volunteers for the admission process to creating new questions and new rubrics for our applicants.
- We need to develop strategies to be more inclusive. We want every student voice to be heard and for our students to feel connected and bonded. We need to both teach and learn better ways to be inclusive for all our students – in and out of the classroom. This includes formalizing curriculum on inclusiveness and empathy, support for equity groups, as well as instructor training on fostering and encouraging inclusiveness and equity.
- We need to find another Instructor. We want to increase our support for students in the classroom with more instructional staff, especially those with teaching experience.
- We need to revise our program calendar. We need to find ways to incorporate more time to “pause” into our overall program calendar to allow us the ability to continually grow and improve the program.
- We need to explore fundraising options. The are many things that we would like to do given more time, personnel, or money. Our model of funding via corporate sponsors supports our core operations, but having more funding to enhance our program offerings, continued education, and student support in other ways is key so we can increase our capacity to push our mission.
- We need to keep our community updated on what’s happening behind the scenes. We are constantly iterating and trying to improve, but we need to better utilize communication streams to keep our community updated on what we’ve heard, what we’re doing, and why.
We are always striving to be better at Ada. We are grateful for the feedback we have received and the opportunity to grow.