Gov. Kim Reynolds announces awards to build K-12 computer science teacher workforce
More than 167 school districts and nonpublic schools will benefit
DES MOINES - Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced $883,097 in annual awards that will prepare K-12 teachers in more than 167 school districts and nonpublic schools to teach computer science.
“Computer science is an essential skill set for student success in an ever-growing, technology-driven workplace,” said Gov. Reynolds. “These awards expand the number of educators prepared to teach computer science in grades K-12, creating better access to high-quality computer science coursework. While there’s work to do, Iowa has forged a strong partnership between educators, business leaders, and key stakeholders to bring computer science instruction to every Iowa classroom.”
“Growing opportunities for more teachers to build their skills in this high-demand field is critical to expanding computer science instruction in every school,” said Ann Lebo, Iowa Department of Education director. “Just 10.7 percent of the Class of 2020 took a high-quality computer science course in high school, up from 8.9 percent in 2019-20. These awards help underscore the commitment we have to computer science education.”
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, Governor 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 the skilled workers they need.
The 2020-21 Incentive Fund drew 33 applications. Of those, 18 awards totaling $883,097 will go to school districts, nonpublic schools and Area Education Agencies that created collaborative proposals to serve multiple schools. Training that will result in teachers being ready to teach computer science in the next six to 12 months is a priority. Recipients will report their progress after the 2020-21 school year.
This is the third round of Incentive Fund awards. The first round in 2018-19 awarded $980,295 due to a $500,000 state appropriation plus funding that year from a 2007 settlement of an Iowa class-action antitrust lawsuit filed against Microsoft Corp. The 2019-20 round awarded $515,473.
Click to see the list of 167 urban, rural and suburban school districts, nonpublic schools and Area Education Agencies receiving awards.