State lawmakers passed legislation during the 2018 session requiring school districts to offer computer science, but they did not appropriate funds to support the implementation of the new curriculum.
The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has stepped in by awarding grants to innovative projects that prioritize computer science.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said it’s exciting to see schools proposing interesting projects before the WDE has even completed writing computer science standards.
“I feel very confident that these schools that were granted money will blaze the trail,” said Balow. “And allow the rest of the state to see how we can utilize local funds, state funds and federal funds and maybe combine those in ways we haven’t done before to make sure we can teach computer science.”
Balow said the WDE is using Wyoming Education Trust funds, as well as 21st Century Community Learning Center grants to kick-start computer science education.
“If we have these early adopters and these innovative pilots, what we’d like to see is they are able to share their lessons learned and their success stories with the rest of the state.”
Balow said many of the funded projects focus on reaching communities that are traditionally marginalized from science and technology, like girls and low-income students.