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Iowa school districts will expand computer science after state appropriation

This news story was published on July 18, 2019.
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DES MOINES – Gov. Reynolds announced a total of 23 Iowa school districts – including Clear Lake and Mason City – will be able to bolster their computer science teacher workforce, due to a state appropriation of $500,000.

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.

“This investment provides students with the tools they need to excel within a 21st-century digital economy,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “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. SF 274 supports our effort to provide high-quality computer science instruction in every elementary, middle and high school. Schools will use the incentive fund to pay for 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. One application represented a team of elementary, middle, and high schools within Great Prairie Area Education Agency in southeast Iowa.

Award recipients will report on their progress by the end of the 2019-20 school year.

“This is a great opportunity for schools to develop teachers in a high-demand field,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise. “Strong computer science instruction is critical in ensuring our students are future ready when they graduate from high school.”

The recipients are:

Bondurant-Farrar Community School District

Cedar Falls Community School District

Central Decatur Community School District

Clear Lake Community School District

Durant Community School District

Earlham Community School District

Estherville Lincoln Central Community School District

Great Prairie Area Education Agency (a collaboration with Central Lee, North Mahaska, Cardinal, Pekin, Fort Madison K-8, Centerville, Fairfield, Waco, and Keokuk)

Louisa-Muscatine Community School District

Marshalltown Community School District

Mason City Community School District

MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District

Spirit Lake Community School District

Storm Lake Community School District

Waukee Community School District

Mason City’s Democratic legislator Sharon Steckman said after the announcement, “Definitely not a huge investment by the state.”

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