Governor Kim Reynolds announced that the Computer Science is Elementary project is taking a crucial next step by inviting eligible Iowa schools to apply between Jan. 22 and March 29 for $50,000 one-time planning grants.
“Tomorrow’s workforce is sitting in the classroom right now! Computer Science is Elementary builds on our efforts to expand STEM education across Iowa, including a $1 million fund to train our computer science teacher workforce,” said Gov. Reynolds. “With a societal digital transformation under way, computer science is a new basic skill students must have. I want to sincerely thank Westridge and the West Des Moines Community Schools for their commitment to STEM education.”
The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and the Iowa Department of Education are partnering with business and industry on the project to transform six high-poverty elementary schools across Iowa into models of innovative computer science instruction. Six schools will be selected – one in each of the six STEM Council regions. This will offer their students opportunities to learn a new basic skill. The six also will serve as a statewide resource for teaching computer science in early grades, building on the work that’s already started in some elementary schools.
To be eligible, school districts and nonpublic school systems must have at least one elementary building with at least 40 percent of students taking free or reduced-price lunch. Stand-alone nonpublic schools may also apply.
A total of $350,000 has been raised to provide $50,000 one-time planning grants for each of the six schools. Loess Hills Computer Programming School in Sioux City, which is the inspiration for the Computer Science is Elementary project, also will receive $50,000 to serve as a project resource, including consulting related to curriculum development.
Many private-sector partners made this project possible including Collins Aerospace as the lead sponsor, Principal Financial Group, MidAmerican Energy, Kemin Industries, Microsoft, Google, ITC Midwest, Alliant Energy, Technology Association of Iowa, Verizon, Paragon IT, AT&T, School Administrators of Iowa, Workiva, Pella Rolscreen Foundation, Merchant Bonding, and Bankers Trust.
Awards will be announced by summer 2019 for implementation by the 2020-2021 school year.
For more information or to apply for the Computer Science is Elementary project, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/cselementary.