Lenihan awarded $50,000 computer science grant

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Marshalltown Schools staff are pictured with Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise and Governor Kim Reynolds at the announcement of a $50,000 Computer Science grant for Lenihan Intermediate School. Pictured from left are David Stanfield, Erica Finders, Dr. Theron Schutte, Dr. Ryan Wise, Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Governor Kim Reynolds, Jenny Allen, Kyle Young, Sue Cahill and Dee Burt.

DES MOINES – Lenihan is one of six schools listed in an announcement from Gov. Kim Reynolds set to each receive a $50,000 grant through the Computer Science is Elementary project.

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, according to the release. 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,” Reynolds said. “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,” Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said.

Thirty schools applied for the awards, which are possible thanks to generous support from private-sector partners that raised $350,000 total: Collins Aerospace as the lead sponsor, Principal Financial Group, MidAmerican Energy, Kemin Industries, Microsoft, Google, ITC Midwest, Alliant Energy, Technology Association of Iowa, Verizon, Paragon IT, AT&T, School Administrators of Iowa, Workiva, Pella Rolscreen Foundation, Merchant Bonding and Bankers Trust.

The other schools are Denison Elementary in the Denison Community School District, Cora B. Darling Elementary in the Postville Community School District, East Union Elementary in the East Union Community School District, Perry Elementary in the Perry Community School District and Richardson Elementary in the Fort Madison Community School District. The six schools will implement their programs no later than the 2020-21 school year with regular school funding, according to the announcement.

Loess Hills Computer Programming School, the inspiration for the Computer Science is Elementary project, also will receive a $50,000 grant to serve as a project resource.