Building Opportunities with Teachers in Schools (BOTS)

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What is BOTS?

Building Opportunities with Teachers in Schools (BOTS) fosters computer science and digital literacy and equity in Los Angeles elementary schools via a Community of Practice of K-5 teachers & USC Computer Science and Robotics students, co-creating high-quality, scalable, and sustainable in-school computer science education opportunities.

The K-12 STEM Center develops strategies and builds initiatives to meet the needs of a diverse population, specifically in efforts to increase the representation of female students and African American/Black, Hispanic/LatinX/Latine, Native/Indigenous students in its STEM programs, such as BOTS. Some of those efforts include outreach, mentorship, and scholarships. However, all STEM Center programs are open to all students in compliance with Federal and State law, as well as University policy.

Program Logo for BOTS


Computer graphic

Basic knowledge and skills needed to understand and use computers and other digital technologies are lacking for many Americans.

Red and Gold colored pie chart graphic

Computer science suffers from a substantial lack of diversity with only 24% of jobs held by females and 15% of jobs held by LatinX, Black, and other people of color.

Teacher and student at desk graphic
Late elementary grades are when students often lose interest in STEM.

To address these important challenges, there is a need to grow computer science and digital literacy through the education of young learners from underrepresented and under resourced populations, beginning with bringing computer science to elementary school teachers.

Who Does BOTS Serve?

  • 59th Street Elementary
  • Buchanan Street Elementary
  • Holy Cross School
  • Immaculate Conception STEM Academy
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
  • Sacred Heart Elementary
  • Sheridan Elementary
  • Soto Street Elementary
  • St. Louis of France School
  • Multnomah Elementary
  • Sheridan Street Elementary
  • San Gabriel Mission Elementary School
  • Evergreen Elementary
  • Gates Elementary
  • Holy Spirit STEM
  • Malabar Street Elementary
  • Murchison Elementary
  • St. Odilia School
  • Resurrection Catholic School

BOTS in Action

Teacher with female students asking questions
Female students on floor with root
Student Assistant with group of kids with masks around root
Four young students with root on desk
Two female teachers working on floor
Two BOTS students assistants smiling

What BOTS Teachers are saying:

“For those new to coding or for those who want to bring more engagement to their coding lessons, BOTS gives you the tools you need to succeed. BOTS lessons were incredibly engaging.  They helped me become more literate in the subject of coding, and more confident in teaching coding to my students in a meaningful way.”

“Besides the benefits to the students, the program for teachers is amazing. I feel like I've been exposed to something I've never had before and I'm giving that experience to my students. I felt supported and guided throughout the whole year which was most important to me because it's difficult navigating something new on your own let alone teaching it to a bunch of kiddos.”

“I would recommend BOTS to other teachers because it is so "user friendly." We were always greeted with a smile, and made to feel welcome. Meetings were an appropriate length of time, and the material presented was appropriately challenging. We were offered assistance in our classroom if we needed it…It was a wonderful experience for me and I would definitely encourage other teachers to participate in the future.“

Meet the BOTS Team:

Woman smiling
Mary Bonaparte-Saller

Program Manager

Woman smiling
Shivangi Kochrekar

BOTS Student Assistant

Woman smiling
Sumiya Naksi

BOTS Student Assistant

Funding for BOTS Graciously Provided By:

Red logo for USC Good Neighbors Campaign
Green and white logo for Specialty Family Foundation

How do I learn more?

Reach out to BOTS program manager, Dr. Mary Bonaparte-Saller at As we grow, we are often looking to connect with local school/district partners as well as USC computer science students!

Published on March 7th, 2018

Last updated on November 13th, 2023