13 Districts and Schools Earn $800,000 in Coding & Mobile App Grants
A dozen North Carolina school districts and one charter school will benefit this year from a total of $800,000 in grants aimed at developing student skills in computer science through coding. The Coding and Mobile App Development Grant program, launched in 2017 with funding from the General Assembly, supports partnerships with local businesses to help schools develop computer science, coding and mobile app development programs for middle and high school students.
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.
Applicants for this year’s round of grants indicated a primary goal of establishing strategies to implement and integrate the new NC K12 Computer Science Standards by prioritizing professional development for teachers and introducing students to computer science in novel ways.
Partnerships include a variety of business and industry connections across the state, including such companies and organizations as STEM West, Sesame Technologies, Lee Chevrolet, Innovation Barn, Google Data Center, Stemerald City, LLC, Esports Performance Academy, Winston-Salem State University, and VectorCSP.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said the grants help expose students to careers in the state’s fast-growing technology sector while laying an early foundation in the skills needed to succeed in those jobs.
“The workforce here in North Carolina and elsewhere is changing rapidly, and we must respond with initiatives like the Coding and Mobile App Development grants to ensure that students know about the kinds of opportunities available after high school and are able to take advantage of them,” Truitt said. “The growth in technology-related jobs in the state underscores the need to drive alignment between our K-12 education system and the needs of our businesses and industries.”
The proposed partnership initiatives 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 business and industry.
Some districts and schools are using funds to continue and expand programs started through previous years’ grant monies. Other districts and schools have begun implementing programs this spring.
During the 2021-22 school year, the grant program afforded the opportunity for more than 8,500 students and their teachers, administrators and other staff members throughout the state to experience a coding or mobile app development course as well as exposure to computer science related work in business and industry.
These experiences included embedded activities, work-based learning opportunities, professional development experiences, and other options. The 12 participating schools or school grant recipients added or expanded new coding-related courses or supporting activities for middle or high school students.
The North Carolina schools named as grant recipients are: