Grant to boost SL computer science teaching

Friday, July 19, 2019

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday that a total of 23 Iowa school districts including Storm Lake will be able to bolster their computer science teacher workforce, due to a state appropriation of $500,000.

Storm Lake schools will receive over $57,000 for teacher professional development in science and technology.

“We are constantly exploring new ways to help prepare our students for the jobs and opportunities of the future, which we know will be focused largely on technology,” said Dr. Stacey Cole, SLCSD superintendent. “Through this grant, we will be able to provide teachers with the skills and training to enhance the level of instruction they can deliver to our students. This is an exciting development in our efforts to offer more computer science learning experiences throughout our schools.”

The funding is part of a broader effort to expand computer science education across the state. This effort aligns with the Future Ready Iowa initiative, which is about preparing more Iowans for rewarding, high-demand jobs and getting employers the skilled workers they need, the governor said.

“This investment provides students with the tools they need to excel within a 21st-century digital economy. Teaching computer science and other STEM-related courses is an essential component to any child’s education. That’s why Iowa is preparing our young people for success in cutting-edge careers with programs like this.” 

The Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund, along with voluntary statewide computer science standards, were established as part of legislation signed into law in 2017. Schools will use the incentive fund for efforts including professional learning or university coursework for teaching endorsements in computer science.

The incentive fund drew 31 applications representing 39 public school districts and non-public schools in urban, rural and suburban parts of the state. Storm Lake is the only area district to receive the funding. Award recipients will report on their progress by the end of the 2019-20 school year.

  Earlier this year, SLCSD received a grant from Amazon to provide training and curriculum for two high school computer science courses. Together, these grants will springboard the computer science offerings for the district.