In 2019, twelve high poverty elementary schools were selected to take part in the Computer Science is Elementary (CSE) project. The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and the Iowa Department of Education have been partnering with business and industry on the project to transform the elementary schools into innovative models of computer science instruction. Early access to computer science builds confidence that leads to more opportunities later.
The project was initially designed to span two years, which included planning and implementation. Unexpected delays due to the COVID pandemic set the schools back and the project was extended into a third year.
The CSE schools recently convened to share strategies, set goals and work on blueprints unique to their school’s program. The day opened with guided conversations addressing what is working, challenges, goals and more. Job-Alike conversations were held in groups of teachers, administrators and instructional coaches to collaborate and share ideas.
Each table participated in a standards activity where they wrote a sample CSE lesson that meets the standard for a particular grade level including things that have already been done or schools would like to do in the future. The lessons were shared for other attendees to review and ask questions.
CSE teams also had time to work on their blueprints and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals. While CSE schools will wrap up the project requirements by the end of the academic year, the outcomes are expected to impact students for years to come, while seeding the idea of computer science embedded in to students’ school days K through 12.
For more information about the CSE project, visit iowastem.org/cselementary.