Planning Grant Funds - How they were utilized
The bulk of our planning funds were used towards stipends to pay for Computer Science Teachers’ time to serve on the Planning Grant Committee and help us make decisions on how to best roll out a K-12 Computer Science curriculum. We had several meetings with the large committee and then broke into school bands to discuss curriculum at those specific levels. We were able to get four meetings in before we started meeting virtually.
The original plan was to have district leaders travel to:
- a sister school district who has begun to implement CS K12 and glean what we could from their experience.
- a local Technical College and University to research CS pathways and course offerings.
- local businesses with CS based employees to determine the most applicable courses to offer.
Early in our process, we learned about a company called TechSmart who shared many of the goals and philosophies of our district. We had TechSmart demonstrate their curriculum to the CS Committee, and the current teachers were invited to use it in a demo environment. The feedback was very positive and we had planned to visit schools using TechSmart to see how it worked in a classroom environment. About the same time we had our trip planned, COVID set in and we had to cancel those travel plans. With COVID in full swing, we reconvened virtually to receive feedback from the teachers regarding their practice with the curriculum and to determine a direction. We had several virtual meetings and moved our travel budgeted funds to pay committee members (the teachers) for their time in researching the TechSmart curriculum to determine if it would meet our district's CS needs and goals. Teachers also were able to compare it with more familiar curriculum packages such as Code.org, CodeHS, and Scratch.
As we implemented our planning grant proposal and utilized our funds, the results were successful. We determined a direction we wanted to take Computer Science for Cache County School district. We decided to connect with several other school districts and work with TechSmart to modernize and expand our Computer Science efforts. We used the remaining planning grant funds to pay teachers to give input and ideas as we wrote the CS grant.