Caldwell County Schools will benefit this year from grant funds totaling $77,467 aimed at developing student skills in computer science through coding.
Launched in 2017 with support from the General Assembly, the grant program supports partnerships with local businesses to help schools develop computer science, coding and mobile app development programs for middle and high school students.
“Funds from the Coding and Mobile App Development grant will support various robotics programs offered after school at select piloted schools,” said Amy Philyaw, STEM Director and grant writer. “Our hope is to build a sustainable robotics club at the piloted schools and to identify community members and parents who can serve as local experts to partner with to provide real-world experience relating to coding and robotics.”
Caldwell County was one of only a dozen school districts in the state awarded grant funds. The grants, which range from nearly $80,000 to $25,000 this year, help districts and schools purchase equipment, digital materials and cover the costs associated with teacher professional development to build capacity in coding, computer science and mobile application development initiatives.
In Caldwell County Schools, pilot schools will be provided with LEGO Education Spike Essential kits, Lego League curriculum, and Vex Robotics for after school robotics programs. These schools also will have the opportunity to send a robotics team to a county competition. Competitions will be focused on a real-world challenge based on Lego League or Vex Robotic themes.
Middle school and high school teams will be provided the opportunity to attend additional robotics competitions held in North Carolina to practice real-world search and rescue spontaneous team events that showcase their skills in a career related real-world event.
“This is an opportunity to implement and integrate the new NC K-12 Computer Science Standards and introduce students to computer science in a novel way,” Philyaw said.
The new NC K12 Computer Science Standards and the NC Department of Public Instruction encourage school districts to develop community partnership initiatives to provide increased opportunities for students to aim for high-wage, high-skill and high-demand careers through increased work-based learning experiences such as internships, pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships with local businesses and industry.