By: Ada Leadership Team
At Ada, we set out to change the face of tech, and build a more inclusive and resilient economy as a result.
This current crisis has held a magnifying glass to that mission and our values at every turn, and we are so, so proud of how this community has pivoted while continuing to advance our movement together.
Below, you’ll hear from our teams on how they have adjusted to meet student needs, while adhering to the new constraints we are all facing. All of the deeply thoughtful solutions here have come from testing, iterating, and nimbly shifting gears over the past 2.5 months. And, as a result, we are in the incredibly fortunate position to now look forward (which feels like no small miracle)!
We are on track to move to our new space in August – a space that will allow us the square footage and flexibility to phase back into the classroom in parallel with the Washington Safe Start plan. We’re also growing our cohort size from 48 to 52 students with the incoming class, and coupling that with growth in our corporate partnerships and Advisory Board (more to come on this next month).
As we look to the future, we’re also laying the groundwork for broader growth, and one silver lining of all we’ve been through these past few months is that we are learning how we can work differently while continuing to build an incredibly powerful community. If you’re reading this, you’ve been a part of that community, and this movement wouldn’t be possible without you – so thank you!
Academic and Student Support Updates
Moving from an in-person, highly communal learning environment to an online program has certainly had some challenges. But, we have learned a lot, and wanted to share some of the things we have had to consider while moving our student learning online.
First is the academic component of learning, which we adjusted in a few ways:
- We slowed down our content delivery. This cohort (C13) will be just as prepared for their internship start on August 3rd as prior cohorts. But, we felt it was really important to keep their break/reflection time the same. So, we decided to take one week out of capstones in order for students to have additional time to learn and understand our full Rails content.
- We moved to an entirely flipped classroom. The instructional team now pre-records lectures, so students can view the lessons whenever they need to, and as many times as they need to in order to fully absorb the content. Students then meet to ask questions/discuss their learning.
- In an effort to minimize zoom fatigue, we have decreased our classroom schedule to run from 9:30am – 3pm. This allows students the time they need for study and to ensure their self and family care needs are met.
The second component is the community aspect to learning. Delivering a virtual lesson to the entire class just does not build a solid community. We learned that lesson on the first day after moving online, and have solved for it a few ways.
- We are making every effort to keep students connected with Ada Staff. 1:1s with Ada staff took place every week for the first 5 weeks of online learning. We have now moved those 1:1s to every other week. This serves the dual purpose of supporting students, and ensuring we have an accurate pulse on how our students are doing so we can add supports early when they are needed.
- We are working to keep students connected to each other through small group learning. The instructional team put together teams of 8-10 students to connect to review content 2-3 times per week, depending on the content. This community-based learning and support is an essential part of the Ada DNA, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains strong even though our students are physically separated.
- We are trying to help students maintain some form of self-care, so we started The Recharge series, which consists of 3-4 optional activities for students to attend online each week. Topics range from anxiety management to yoga to baking. If you’re interested in getting information on how to join these sessions, please give us your contact info here.
Development and Corporate Partnerships Update
Wow, we are consistently in awe of our amazing community. GiveBig was another huge success for Ada and the Development team. As usual, it is our pleasure to share the Ada story to a broader audience provided by the GiveBig platform. Thank you to everyone for sharing, and giving to Ada and our mission this year – we were blown away by your support. We don’t know how to thank our supporters enough but until we can do so in person, here is one more, THANK YOU!
At Ada, our Corporate Partners are critical to our financial and programmatic success, and through all of this uncertainty their support and passion for our mission has not waivered. With Cohort 12 nearing the end of their internships on July 3rd, we are confident each partner has done their part in training every one of our students to be hirable junior developers.
With Cohort 14 and Ada’s big move on the horizon we are asking our partners to lean in even deeper to our mission and continue to sponsor the education of our students. If you have questions or are interested in becoming a Corporate Partner please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid-19 has shown a light on so many cracks in our economic and social system and an investment in Ada not only is an investment in changing the face of tech but an investment in all the marginalized communities we serve and impact here in Seattle.
Student and Alum Update
Suddenly, we’re just a week away from internship interview week for Cohort 13! Over the last month, students have been putting in an immense amount of time and effort preparing with peers, doing mock interviews, and working through whiteboard problems in their CS curriculum. Over 20 of our incredible volunteers have also put in dozens of hours supporting our students with their academic preparation, and with getting used to the virtual tools we’re using for our first ever round of remote internship interviews.
We continue to see unwavering community support among cohorts of Adies through tutoring, mentoring, hosting talks, answering questions in slack, sending cards, and joining virtual lunches. A few months ago, we didn’t think we could be even more proud of Ada, but here we are.
We are more than halfway through our Cohort 14 Admissions cycle! We received over 300 applications for this cohort, and have a great volunteer base helping us narrow down our class of 52. We are currently reaching the end of Phase 2 as the last submitted code challenges are being reviewed. The rest of the cycle will be spent on final interviews until June 19, and final selections will be made on June 29th.
While the “where” is contingent on Washington state regulations, we are confident this cohort will start on time in August and be incredibly well supported given all that we have learned, and how our community has shown up for each other through this time.