The Iowa Department of Education today announced $506,084 in annual awards that will prepare K-12 teachers in 136 school districts and nonpublic schools to teach computer science.
The Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund awards are part of a broad commitment to expand computer science instruction in K-12 schools across Iowa. In 2017, Senate File 274 established the fund to pay for teacher professional development, including training to teach specific computer science courses and earning in-depth university endorsements to teach computer science. In 2020, Gov. Reynolds proposed and the Legislature passed House File 2629 requiring K-12 schools to offer computer science education to all students, starting with high schools in 2022-23.
Both pieces of legislation align with the Future Ready Iowa initiative, with the goal of preparing more Iowans for rewarding, high-demand careers and helping employers hire skilled workers.
The 2021-22 Incentive Fund drew 40 applications. Of those, 21 awards totaling $506,084 will go to school districts, nonpublic schools and Area Education Agencies that created collaborative proposals to serve multiple schools. Recipients will report their progress after the 2021-22 school year.
“Through computer science, students build critical thinking, problem-solving and reasoning skills that are transferable across academic disciplines and fields,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education in a statement. “These are vital skills that students need to innovate and succeed in our interconnected, digital world. The awards announced today underscore the commitment we have to computer science education and will help more teachers build their skills in this high-demand field.”
A list of the school districts, nonpublic schools and Area Education Agencies receiving awards is available here.