July 31, 2018, Cedar Rapids, IA – Seventy-six educators, representing rural and urban schools throughout Iowa, participated in NewBoCo’s Code.org Professional Learning Program this summer.
“We are proud to be scaling Iowa’s Code.org Professional Learning Programs in order to reach our goal of computer science in every Iowa school,” NewBoCo K-12 Education Coordinator and Code.org program manager Samantha Dahlby said. “Our teachers are passionate and dedicated to expanding their skills in order to provide students with these important opportunities.”
NewBoCo is the Code.org Regional Partner for Iowa led by Dahlby. In the first year of the program, the NewBoCo team trained 32 middle and high school teachers how to teach computer science. This year, that number is more than double, and NewBoCo has also absorbed the professional development program for Code.org’s CS Fundamentals, a computer science curriculum for grades K-5.
“NewBoCo now offers professional development opportunities on free computer science curricula for K-12, providing great options for Iowa school districts. We know that it is important to provide exposure to students at a young age, so that they can make educated decisions in high school when they have many course choices,” Dahlby said. “It is also important for us to support high-quality curriculum options that will continue to be free for districts, reducing barriers to implementation and continued availability.”
With more than 100 new teachers trained to teach computer science over the last two years, NewBoCo is increasing its impact statewide and driving toward its goal of computer science in every school in Iowa. The teachers participating in this program not only learn how to use the curriculum and supports available from Code.org, but also learn about and practice a variety of ways to introduce computer science concepts to a wide variety of students.
“Companies in Iowa are absolutely feeling the crunch when trying to hire tech talent,” NewBoCo Chief Operating Officer Aaron Horn said. “We have a more immediate tech education strategy with DeltaV Code School and our Registered Apprenticeships for Software Developers, but we also have a long term strategy to get more kids exposure to computer science early on, which is why our Code.org Partnership is so important. We want Iowa to be the first state in the nation to have computer science in every school, and we’ve got a plan to get there.”
Following the weeklong intensive training, teachers will meet four more times throughout the academic year for additional professional development.
“I was very apprehensive about teaching computer science going into the training,” Rob Cunningham from Spirit Lake High School said. “The training not only gave me confidence in teaching computer science, but it helped show me how accessible it is to everyone. Computer science is way more than programming; it is teaching students how to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively.”
While 6th-12th grade teacher applications for the 2018–2019 cohort have closed, K-5 workshops may be held any time throughout the year. Teachers and school districts wanting to implement computer science can work with Samantha by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in donating to support tech education and professional development for teachers can email email@example.com or visit https://newbo.co/donate/.
The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) is a 501(c)(3) organization located in the New Bohemia neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. NewBoCo’s programming supports entrepreneurship, innovation, and tech education to help Iowans become more resilient and thrive in a changing economy.
Media contact: Jessalyn Holdcraft, firstname.lastname@example.org