New Jersey CS Initiative to Award $2M in Grants
New Jersey is investing in helping schools statewide bolster their computer science programs and create professional development opportunities for teachers. Governor Phil Murphy's Computer Science for All State Plan will award $2 million in grants to help schools and higher education institutions train teachers, create model curricula for programs of study and prep students and teachers to earn credits for advanced computer sciences.
The grants will be available in three categories:
- Three higher education institutions will be awarded up to $265,000 each to partner with school districts that have at least one Title I school to create "a network of computer-science hubs." Each site will provide professional development training for teachers in person, online or blended learning environments.
- One higher education institution will receive up to $205,000 to create two model curricula programs of study: one in programming and the other in networking and cybersecurity to help secondary school districts and postsecondary career and technical education programs with implementing New Jersey's Information Technology Career Cluster.
- At least 15 awards up to $66,500 each will be awarded to high schools to help "a larger and more diverse pool of students” to take advanced computer science courses. The funds will help teachers and students prep for AP computer science courses, set students up on a path to receive "industry-valued" credentials in computer science or obtain computer science class credits from a college, university or other postsecondary institutions.
The grants are expected to be awarded by the spring of 2020. The grants build upon Murphy's commitment to focus on computer science education that was announced in October 2018.
The state plan has five key goals that were created with support from a state Computer Science Advisory Board that included educators with computer science and STEM experience, higher education leaders, school administrators and other stakeholders.
The five components are:
- Adopt Standards: Develop rigorous computer science standards in all grades that provide a framework for equitable access to a coherent, robust computer science program for all students in K-12.
- Implement Professional Learning: Develop and deliver flexible, accessible, and sustainable professional learning for educators and educator preparation providers.
- Strengthen the Teacher Pipeline: Establish initial licensure and endorsement pathways to increase the number of educators teaching computer science.
- Build Capacity, Partnerships, and Awareness: Engage with families, educators, higher education, school boards and other community stakeholders to leverage partnerships and promote the state plan.
- Establish a Data-Driven Decision-Making Approach: Establish metrics for each of the goals to evaluate progress and remaining gaps; ensure the data collected can serve as a basis for establishing the funding in each of the next two fiscal cycles.
More information about the Computer Science for All Plan is available on the New Jersey Department of Education's website.
Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.
Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.
Friedman can be contacted at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.
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