The state of Iowa is investing more than $500,000 to prepare K-12 teachers in 136 school districts and nonpublic schools to teach computer science.

“Computer science is a basic skillset necessary for student success and an added advantage for recruitment in high-demand careers in the rapidly-changing, technology-driven workplace,” said Gov. Reynolds. “These awards equip more educators with the tools and resources needed to prepare K-12 students in computer science, giving them hands-on experience and building their knowledge base to help attain high-quality computer science jobs once they graduate.”

The funding, announced by Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education, is part of Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund, which is a broader commitment to expand computer science instruction in K-12 schools across Iowa.

“Through computer science, students build critical thinking, problem-solving and reasoning skills that are transferable across academic disciplines and fields,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “These are vital skills that students need to innovate and succeed in our interconnected, digital world. The awards announced today underscore the commitment we have to computer science education and will help more teachers build their skills in this high-demand field.”

The Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund was established in 2017 to pay for teacher professional development, including training to teach specific computer science courses and earning in-depth university endorsements to teach computer science. Tied into this measure, Gov. Reynolds signed legislation in 2020 requiring K-12 schools to offer computer science education to all students, starting with high schools in 2022-23.

In a press release, the state said that the 2021-22 Incentive Fund drew 40 applications. The resulting 21 awards totaling $506,084 will go to school districts, nonpublic schools, and Area Education Agencies that created collaborative proposals to serve multiple schools. Award recipients will report their progress after the 2021-22 school year.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs