In 2019, 12 high-poverty schools were selected to transform their schools into models of innovative computer science instruction by the close of the 2020-21 school year. Under a two-year implementation window, year one was cut short due to school closures, and year two was impacted by shifted priorities due to the pandemic. The program implementation window has now been extended through June 15, 2022, to provide every school an additional year for implementation.
Despite the many challenges, Computer Science is Elementary schools are forging ahead in computer science instruction and activities. For example, Richardson Elementary in the Fort Madison Community School District started with very little computer science curriculum at any grade level and has made significant strides toward reaching all students in the district. The school has a planning team, who has taken part in formal computer science professional development and meets weekly with a recently hired part-time Computer Science Integration Coach. The school has adopted computer science curriculum for grades K-3 and is currently piloting computer science teachers at each grade level with intentions of expanding computer science to the high school.
With the additional year of implementation, Richardson Elementary plans to identify ways to ensure all K-8 grade students have computer science opportunities, add a STEAM lab at Lincoln Elementary, expand partnerships with the community and help staff obtain computer science endorsements.
For more information about the Computer Science is Elementary project, visit IowaSTEM.org/CSelementary.