West Sound District Consortium Awarded Grant to Further Computer Science Education.

OLYMPIA—May 14, 2018—PRESS RELEASE:

Nearly $1 million in grants were awarded to improve access to computer science and related educational programs in Washington state, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced today.  The grants allow districts, schools, and nonprofits to train teachers and provide and upgrade technology. In addition, the grants expand computer science access to groups of students who have historically been underrepresented in computer science programs and careers.

South Kitsap School District Superintendent Karst Brandsma noted, “We believe that all students should have the opportunity and access to engage in computer science from the youngest of students through high school and beyond.”

Chimacum Superintendent Rick Thompson added, “Our students will benefit tremendously from the partnership between industry, OSPI, and West Sound STEM Network. As a rural district, opportunities like this provide high value for our district and community.”

West Sound STEM Network, which received $78,040 (with South Kitsap School District as the backbone agency), is one of 24 in the state receiving grants for 2018-19. This grant is a collaborative proposal from a consortium of districts in the region: Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Central Kitsap, Chief Kitsap Academy, Chimacum, North Kitsap, North Mason, Peace Lutheran, Port Townsend, and South Kitsap in partnership with Western Washington University, Olympic College and MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions. The funding will (1) support teachers and administrators to develop computer science pathways which are deeply integrated into core content areas from elementary through high school (2) provide tangible connections between computer science and industry; and (3) provide access and opportunities to computer science experiences and learning for students on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.

“West Sound STEM Network is thrilled to lead computer science career connected learning in the region.” said Dr. Kareen Borders, West Sound STEM Network Director. “Computer science competencies and skills are critical if we want all students to be Future Ready.”

“MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions couldn’t be more pleased,” said Perry England, Vice President of Building Performance. “As a member of West Sound STEM Network, we are committed to strengthening the link between computer science skills and workforce needs. Computer science competencies are essential for a new youth apprenticeship we are developing in partnership with West Sound STEM Network.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said the grants will give more students and educators access to computer science technology. “As our economy grows in advanced technology, our investment in that learning must grow with it,” Reykdal said. “It is especially important that we ensure access to student populations who have not typically engaged in computer science education. This is key to our commitment to equity. Congratulations to the grantees.”

The State Legislature provided $1 million for computer science education grant funding in 2018. The state grant funds will be matched equally by private sources, which effectively doubles the total grant amount to $2 million.

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