Lee County, IA, May 1, 2019 - Gov. Kim Reynolds announced at the Future Ready Iowa Conference in Des Moines the six schools selected to each receive $50,000 grants through the Computer Science is Elementary project, including Richardson Elementary in Fort Madison.
The school district stated, "FMCSD recognizes the importance of providing our students with STEM Education as it is becoming increasingly relevant to workplace readiness." Pictured is Rachella Dravis, Technology instructor, Kim Harmon Director of curriculum & student services, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Adrian McKay Richardson Elementary Principal. "We are excited to further our engagement in work-based learning and providing opportunities for students."
Thirty schools across the state applied to be part of the program. "It is very exciting to have a Lee County school selected," said Dana Millard with Lee County EDG. "You can tell we're getting noticed at the state level."
This award is in addition to the recently announced 8 STEM Scale-Up Grants Lee County schools received for the 2019-2020 school year.
Lee County EDG has taken an active role in increasing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education," said Millard. "We know this is where the greatest future job growth will be so we are preparing Lee County students for those high-quality local careers."
The Governor's STEM Advisory Council and the Iowa Department of Education are partnering with business and industry on this project to transform six high-poverty elementary schools into models of innovative computer science instruction. The goal is to create opportunities for students and a statewide network of computer science expertise.
"Computer science is a new basic skill that's required for success in a workforce constantly impacted by innovation and technology," said Gov. Reynolds. "With tomorrow's workers sitting in today's classrooms, we must prepare our students to be continuous learners and adaptable for the disruptive economy of the future."
The Computer Science is Elementary Project aligns with Future Ready Iowa, which sets the goal of 70 percent of the workforce having education or training beyond high school by the year 2025. The initiative also focuses on strengthening preK-12 education and career exploration and preparation.
"To continue Iowa's prosperity, we must invest in our students and their futures. By introducing computer science in our elementary schools and giving young Iowans access to these in-demand skills, they will be ready for the unlimited opportunities awaiting them in our state," said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.
The six schools selected to receive the $50,000 planning grants will implement their programs no later than the 2020-21 school year with regular school funding.