Seven innovative education programs across Wyoming have been selected to receive 2018 Wyoming Education Trust Fund grants, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow announced Friday.
Applications that showed the creation or improvement of computer science programs and professional development activities specific to computer science and computational thinking were given priority in the scoring process this cycle, Balow said. Each winning project will create computer science opportunities for students just entering kindergarten to high school seniors who will be going onto college, a career, or the military.
“Through the Wyoming Education Trust Fund, we were able to award funds for seven unique computer science projects across the state,” Balow said. “I am excited about the opportunity these schools have to blaze the trail for the rest of the state as we implement Boot Up Wyoming.”
In April, the Wyoming Department of Education launched its Boot Up Wyoming 2022 initiative to help school districts implement computer science in all Wyoming classrooms. During the 2018 Budget Session, the Wyoming Legislature passed Senate Enrolled Act 0048, which added computer science and computational thinking to the state educational program.
The seven winning projects include: Shoshoni Code Wranglers; Full STEM Ahead (Diamondville); Fremont @Coder (Lander); Computer Science-Roosevelt High (Casper); The Middle Space Project (Buffalo); CTacs-Computational Thinking and Computer Science (Wheatland); and Sublette School District No. 9 Cyber Academy (Big Piney). A full description of each project is available here.
In Big Piney, Superintendent Steven Loyd said his teachers set out to create an after-school ‘Cyber Academy’ for students in fifth through eighth grades. The program will focus on four integrated threads within the context of computer science, all while increasing the availability of computer science opportunities to low-income and female students.
“Thanks to the Wyoming Education Trust Fund Grant, the SCSD #9 Cyber Academy will provide students with a rich learning experience in STEM and computer science education,” Loyd said.
All seven grant projects funded this year will help expose Wyoming students to a host of new educational opportunities around computer science, Balow said.
“Each award will positively impact students, Wyoming communities, and our state,” she said. “Funds were awarded to bold and innovative computer science projects that range from targeting economically disadvantaged students to partnering with local businesses.”
Wyoming Education Trust Fund monies are available for one-year grants to any public school district. Districts may apply individually, or in conjunction with other districts. A total of $295,728 was granted this year. More information about the trust fund is available on the WDE website.