Colorado Springs Gazette January 16, 2019

District 12 Perspectives: Cheyenne Mountain awarded computer science grant

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Grant funding is the cornerstone of many programs and projects in public education, and often there seems to be a never-ending list of grant opportunities available to schools. However, frequently the Cheyenne Mountain School District is at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing many grant opportunities because the demographics of our district and comunity (size, socio-economics, location, etc.) don’t match what grantmakers are looking for. This wasn’t the case recently, however, as we were excited to learn that District 12 was awarded a grant from The Computer Science Grants for Teacher Program.

The Colorado Computer Science Teacher Education Grant Program was put in place by the Colorado Legislature during the 2017 legislative session to support school districts and charter schools in efforts to expand computer science teacher professional development and is managed by the Colorado Department of Education.

In support of the Board of Education’s long-range plan objective of expanding access to educational technologies, this grant will allow the district to begin professional development opportunities for elementary and junior high teachers to learn and integrate computer science instruction and activities into their core curriculum. The first year of the grant will include computer science training to 24 elementary and junior high teachers with representatives from all five elementary schools as well as Cheyenne Mountain Junior High School.

The training, through the CDE and Mindspark Learning, will focus on use of robotics, coding and methods to effectively integrate this technology into existing core curriculum with the help of the D-12 Technology Integration Team. Longer term plans, once each school has a core group of teachers fully trained, is to establish peer-training schedules to empower more and more teachers to integrate computer science concepts across our curriculum.

Our hope is that as we engage more and more of our students in these activities and prove the value of this grant opportunity, we can expand to even more innovative offerings to keep pace with the learning creativity of our students that is bound to flourish.