Part of $1.3 million in computer science education state grants heading to southwest region

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Courtesy: MGN

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — More than $1.3 million in state grants will go toward implementing the State Board of Education’s mandatory K-12 computer science standards, including two divisions in the southwest region.

“Knowing the basics of computer science can open doors to virtually any career in our fast-growing 21st-century economy,” Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) said in a statement.

The Virginia General Assembly passed the Standards of Learning legislation in 2016 and in 2017 it was adopted by the State Board of Education, according to a statement from the governor.

The grants, authorized by the 2019 General Assembly, provides funding for professional development for teachers, create computer science curriculum, instructional resources, and assessments, support summer and after-school programs, and provide career exposure and work-based learning opportunities for high school students, according to the governor’s statement.

“The legislature directed that underserved students and schools performing below state standards receive priority in the awarding of the grants,” according to the governor’s statement.

“Computer science is a core competency Virginia students need to succeed in the workforce, but educational inequities too often limit access to the resources schools can provide for students to receive a world-class STEM education,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.

Divisions awarded grants in southwest Virginia include:

  • Radford Public Schools were awarded $149,984 to integrate science in K-8 instruction and to create simulated work environments in partnership with Radford University and area businesses.
  • Floyd County Public Schools were awarded $77,166 to provide interdisciplinary professional development in computer science and to integrate the Computer Science Standards of Learning into instruction with an emphasis on underrepresented student groups.

There is no standardized test developed for computer science learning, according to the governor’s statement.

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