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​PAsmart Advancing Grants

On February 11, 2019, Governor Tom Wolf announced $9.6 million in PAsmart advancing grants will be distributed to multiple partnerships across Pennsylvania to help support quality educational opportunities and experiences to K-12 students in computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Advancing grant recipients, grant program names, and funding amounts are listed below.

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Grant Recipient: Allegheny Intermediate Unit

Grant Program Name: Storytime STEM-packs™: Entry Point for Early Computer Science and STEM Learning in PreK-2 Classrooms and Public Libraries

Grant Program Description: Storytime STEM-packs™: Entry Point for Early Computer Science and STEM Learning in PreK-2 Classrooms and Public Libraries will engage young learners in STEM and computer science through themed Storytime STEM-packs™ and related robot challenges. Storytime STEM-packs are an educational innovation by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Math & Science Collaborative that enable educators with minimal prior knowledge of STEM to connect age-appropriate standards-based science, engineering, and math concepts to children's literature. Each Storytime STEM-pack includes: (1) a popular children's book; (2) all the physical and print materials to facilitate an engaging, hands-on STEM+C activity for 24 children; and (3) a facilitator guide that makes connecting the story to the STEM+C activity easy. This project will develop and distribute seven (7) Storytime STEM-packs along with seven (7) companion computer science activities (STEM+C) to 40 preK-2 classrooms throughout the Allegheny and Westmoreland Intermediate Unit, 15 public libraries, 60 AIU Head Start Classrooms, and 10 nonpublic schools within the Diocese of Pittsburgh, predominantly high needs schools and libraries. The project will serve a total of 192 educators and librarians, and approximately 3,000 children in 2019-20. Participating classroom educators and children's librarians will be involved in a total of 18 hours of professional learning and networking.

Grant Amount: $478,420

Grant Recipient: Allegheny Intermediate Unit

Grant Program Name: Bridging the CS Gap Through CS Academy and Statewide Support

Grant Program Description: The Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Center for Creativity will collaborate with Carnegie Mellon University and up to 15 other intermediate units to increase the capacity and number of educators implementing computer science instruction, with a particular focus on equity and expanding opportunities for students with special needs, using CMU's CS Academy curriculum.

Inspired by the highly successful Intro Computing course that has been taught at Carnegie Mellon University for the past 10+ years and is ranked in the top five CS courses in the country by Bloomberg News, CS Academy provides an online computer science curriculum that is engaging, creative, rigorous, and fun. In CS Academy, students use interactive questions, coding activities, and built-in resources to learn coding and increase their understanding and application of computer science. This PAsmart grant will provide the support necessary to bring underserved populations into a CS program, create a project framework unlike any other in PA through training and support structures as well as its cultural responsiveness and special education resources, and establish an infrastructure to scale the free CS Academy curriculum across the state.

Grant Amount: $399,379

Grant Recipient: Berks County Intermediate Unit

Grant Program Name: Eastern Pennsylvania Innovation Catalyst (EPIC) Network

Grant Program Description: The Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU), in partnership with the Kutztown Area School District (KASD), is pleased to announce the Eastern Pennsylvania Innovation Catalyst (EPIC) Network. The EPIC Network will establish a hub of innovation in Berks County rooted in STEM and Computer Science (CS) education for the county and for rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. BCIU and KASD will serve as "satellite" sites for UPenn Graduate School of Education's Catalyst center, connecting to their Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) and CS/STEM master educators programs. These sites will target regional inequities in computer science and STEM education through four targeted areas: (1) STEM Resource Lending Libraries – regional equipment lending centers, (2) Catalyst Spaces - for regional professional development, (3) Ecosystem Empowerment - utilizing master teachers to coach emerging CS practitioners in the field and in their classrooms, and (4) Camp•CS – providing experiences for all students to explore STEM/CS related career fields. Our initiative will provide a direct impact on 67,424 students. Of these students, 51% of students are Economically Disadvantaged, 15% are identified as English Language Learners, 18% are receiving Special Education services, 49% of students are female, and 42% are identified as part of an underserved population.

Grant Amount: $494,368

Grant Recipient: Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania

Grant Program Name: AI Pathways Institute (AIPI) and Teen Accelerator

Grant Program Description: Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA and Hampton Township School District will advance STEM learning by launching the AI Pathways Institute (AIPI) and Teen Accelerator this summer. AIPI + Teen Accelerator is not your average program - it's an intensive, interactive, hands-on program for rising 9th-11th grade students who have been historically underrepresented in STEM careers. This program connects youth to project-based learning, mentorship/career exposure, higher education, and industry as they study artificial intelligence, computer science, human-centered design, and STEM careers. From trash cans that sort trash and automatically recycle, to wearable devices that help treat drug addiction, youth will be exposed to eight Pittsburgh companies who are using artificial intelligence to solve big problems. Robust partnerships with leading institutions of higher education and industry will also be at the center of the program, which will be offered at several different sites. At Boys and Girls Club of Western PA branches and at the Hampton Township School District site, teens will have the opportunity to complete the three-week summer program and then will also be eligible for paid positions as junior staff in the 2019-20 school year to mentor younger students and continue to build upon their summer projects.

Grant Amount: $237,654

Grant Recipient: Bucks County Intermediate Unit

Grant Program Name: Computational Thinking in Action (CTIA)

Grant Program Description: The Computational Thinking in Action (CTiA) program is a statewide collaboration between the Bucks IU, the University of Pennsylvania, Luzerne IU 18, ARIN IU 28, and Central IU 10. Each IU partner will engage school district teams within their region to be part of the CTiA program: Armstrong, Bristol Township, Glendale Area, and Hazleton Area School Districts. CTiA partners will collaboratively create materials that will include: 1) A standalone course titled Introduction to Computer Science, to be offered at the middle school level, 2) a series of lessons to be implemented in various core subjects, and 3) a formal curriculum for an afterschool offering in robotics and computer science. Lead teachers from each IU/ District team will be enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania's Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) Program. The 30-week EXACT program introduces Computational Thinking - the mental process for abstracting problems, and then formulating solutions, which can be enacted through a process of automation. Additional teachers will complete code.org's CS Fundamentals and CS Discovery workshops. They will participate in two more workshops, led by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education's Catalyst Center, that are specifically designed to brainstorm ideas, assess needs, write curriculum, and plan for implementation in their districts.

Grant Amount: $484,689

Grant Recipient: Bucks County Intermediate Unit

Grant Program Name: The Bucks County Mobile Fab Lab

Grant Program Description: The Bucks County Mobile Fab Lab will give students access to STEAM and CS (computer science) programming that they currently may not have access to. The Mobile Fab Lab will be a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, and to invent. It will provide students with project-based, hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education. A Mobile Fab Lab is a collection of equipment that is housed within a mobile cart and transported by a transit van. The equipment includes coding and robotics materials, 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, a Shop Bot, and more. The Bucks IU Mobile Fab Lab will have the capacity to visit up to thirty-six Bucks County schools for a one-week residency each school year. The Lab will target students in grades 5-8, with the goal of increasing enrollment at Bucks County Career and Technical Schools. In addition, the Mobile Fab Lab will visit Region 8 homeless shelters on a regularly scheduled basis. The Mobile Fab Lab will visit one shelter per month every month of this grant period and will also conduct four weeks of summer camp during the summer. By providing week-long summer camps and Saturday programs on site at homeless shelters, the barriers that children and youth who experience homelessness frequently encounter in regard to access to enriching STEAM experiences will be removed.

Grant Amount: $412,656.30

Grant Recipient: California University of Pennsylvania

Grant Program Name: CS Learning in PA After-School Programs

Grant Program Description: CS Learning in PA After-School Programs is a PA Smart grant funded project that proposes a Computer Science (CS) learning professional development (PD) model. This PD model is a cross-sector partnership that will leverage the resources of California University of PA (CALU), Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN), Intermediate Unit 1 (IU1) and the PA STEM Girls Collaborative Project (PA STEM GCP). The intent of this partnership is to increase the interest, capacity, and attitudes towards computing and cryptography among K-12 students through PD workshops. The proposed PD workshops will be designed and implemented for after-school and out-of-school-time program providers, and school counselors, who constitute the CS-learning eco-system outside the regular school programs that teach courses in introductory CS. The PD workshops are primarily targeted towards attendees from under-served regions of PA, and this initiative will result in at least 1,200 K-12 student learners obtaining quality and engaging introductory tools to promote their computer programming and/or mathematics skills.

Grant Amount: $172,115.59

Grant Recipient: Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit

Grant Program Name: CS SYSTEM for Growth

Grant Program Description: Computer Science to Support Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (CS SYSTEM) for Growth will provide equitable access to underserved students in Northumberland County by: 1) developing a sustainable Computer Science and STEM K-12 pipeline through coaching, creating a Professional Learning Community, and leveraging existing career exploration/career pathway initiatives, 2) expanding out-of-school time Computer Science and STEM opportunities for students, and 3) initiating a community-wide effort to develop a STEM Ecosystem within the Central Susquehanna Valley region. CS SYSTEM for Growth will serve students, especially females, in Northumberland County, as well as other CSIU districts that received a PAsmart Targeted grant. The grant will help ensure equitable access for low-income rural students, students with disabilities, and incarcerated youth including CSIU Special Education, Alternative Education, and Incarcerated Youth programs. Twenty community partners representing Business and Industry, Workforce and Economic Development, Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations, Institutes of Higher Education, and K-12 education will participate in CS SYSTEM for Growth. Coordinating cross-sector alignment of various initiatives, CS SYSTEM for Growth will generate community-wide support for sustaining a K-12 Computer Science and STEM pipeline that will create abundant opportunities and be of long-term benefit to our students, employers, and region as a whole.

Grant Amount: $500,000

Grant Recipient: Cranberry Area School District

Grant Program Name: PA Rural Robotics Initiative

Grant Program Description: The Pennsylvania Rural Robotics Initiative is committed to creating sustainable STEM and computer science programming through a K to Gray educational model. Working in unison as K-12 schools and in conjunction with our established community partners, we will provide the necessary equipment and training, involve experts from academia and industry, and provide the long-term support and infrastructure to these programs that will prepare our students to be successful in the classroom and beyond.

The PA Smart Program investment will provide necessary equipment and training to our member districts and schools. STEM education will include the introduction of programming involving a Robotics and Drone (RAD) Labs. These labs will consist of mobile lab that have age appropriate educational robotics and drones kits as well as Chromebooks for programming.   

Educational partners including Clarion University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University will provide unique and valuable experiences in person and virtually for students and teacher/coaches. Economic Development professionals will connect private sector employers to school districts. Employers will interact with students to aid in coding and engineering and will also work with Workforce Development professionals to teach students communication and problem solving skills and the importance of teamwork.

Grant Amount: $361,600

Grant Recipient: East Allegheny School District

Grant Program Name: East Allegheny Computer Science and STEM Partnership Project

Grant Program Description: East Allegheny School District will begin the implementation of the initiative titled East Allegheny Partnerships for Computer Science (CS) and STEM, which is designed to bring equipment, professional development, and enhanced partnerships to our entire district and to our district partner, Duquesne City School District so that our students are well-prepared to enter the 21st century workforce. With more than 2/3 of our students coming from low income families, 40% being minorities, nearly half being female, and almost 20% being students with disabilities, we plan to provide access to underserved students with the addition of Computer Science and STEM related resources. Our committed teachers and district leadership have met and unanimously agree that the most effective and efficient strategies to meet the need to bring 21st century workplace skills to our students must focus on identifying and building STEM and CS by (1) growing and expanding our computer science and STEM offerings; (2) expanding and increasing access to relevant professional development for teachers; and (3) developing and expanding a robust ecosystem of partnerships to include a broad range of people, programs, and organizations in our local and more global community. Through the PAsmart initiative, we will be able to realize our district vision that East Allegheny programs and partnerships with families and the community inspire and prepare all students for success in the 21st century.

Grant Amount: $286,929

Grant Recipient: Emerald Foundation

Grant Program Name: Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Esports

Grant Program Description: "Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Esports" is designed to infuse STEM learning into a passion students currently embrace: video gameplay. The North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), founded by the Samueli Foundation and managed on the east coast by the Emerald Foundation, was created to bridge the gaps between the highest and lowest performing students through highly engaging instruction, ongoing opportunities for team collaboration, creative problem-solving, and competitive fair play. This initiative, launched as a scholastic club, will target a minimum of 300 high school students in fifteen after-school programs in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. All clubs will have the opportunity to compete virtually across North America with free access to toolkits, webinars, virtual coaches, and other support. The grant also provides funding for a traveling esports arena enabling schools to host regional competitions. Supporting the esports game player is an ecosystem of positions critical to the success of the club, including theory crafters, analysts, event organizers, IT support, web developers, streamers, fandom art, shoutcasters, and more. The Emerald Foundation is partnering with organizations like the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry to connect students through the continuum that extends from STEM/computer science interest to workforce development.

Grant Amount: $499,877

Grant Recipient: Hopewell Area School District

Grant Program Name: Beaver County Innovation and Learning Consortium

Grant Program Description: The Beaver County Innovation and Learning Consortium (BCILC) will collaborate with our county partners to align our efforts and provide our students with relevant college and career pathways. Our goal is to increase the skill set of our teachers and enhance their ability to provide quality instruction in computer science, STEM, and creating with technology. Our comprehensive approach to addressing regional needs and the needs of our consortium members is to coordinate our work across all partners, which includes the Beaver Area School District, Hopewell Area School District, and Rochester Area School District, along with the Beaver County Career and Technology Center, Beaver County Community College, Chamber of Commerce, Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit, Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board, as well as our industry partner, Apple. Our initiative will focus on a number of strategies, including cross-organizational dialogue and planning, shared professional learning, curriculum development, student internships and job shadowing, career exploration, and site visits. We will ensure access for our students and equip them with the skills and dispositions that they will need to successfully navigate the workforce and be future-ready. 

Grant Amount: $500,000

Grant Recipient: Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Grant Program Name: PATHways to College Program

Grant Program Description: The PATHways to College Program of the Northern Tier Region of Pennsylvania provides creative outreach focusing on computer science and STEM education to school districts of Tioga, Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming Counties. Conducted by Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, the program assesses classroom needs and capacities for computer science and STEM education, and through a collaborative process, develops programming to complement and enhance the school district curricula. Professors, student mentors, and working professionals will assemble STEM "toolkits" for use in a variety of settings, including classroom presentations, lab and field experiences, career and college pathway explorations, and virtual/augmented reality applications. In addition, the program emphasizes collaborations with private-sector enterprises, offering job-shadowing opportunities for students. With the provisions of an enhanced and expanded STEM lending library housed at the BLaST Intermediate Unit to serve the needs of the Northern Tier school districts, the program provides access to state-of-the-art technologies. PATHways to College includes new and interesting scientific models introduced in classrooms, coaching and mentoring opportunities among college faculty and school faculty, practical applications for business and industry, and a focus on cultivating student interest in, and pursuit of, careers in the fields of computer science and STEM disciplines. 

Grant Amount: $277,307

Grant Recipient: Mercyhurst University

Grant Program Name: Erie Partnership for Advancing Computer Science and STEM

Grant Program Description: The grant will help Erie City School District (ECSD) provide the foundation for a K-12 computer science college and career pathway for more than 11,000 students throughout 16 schools. ECSD currently has limited offerings for computer science and STEM coursework; and a student population that is at-risk, diverse, and high-poverty. Computer technology and programming enhancements were previously out of reach. This grant will improve and expand offerings for traditionally under-served populations. Opportunities will include additional computer science coursework, renovation of existing labs, construction of new labs, and internship opportunities for students. Coursework will include coding, programming, robotics, gaming, networking, and cyber security in an aligned curriculum created in conjunction with the Computing and Information Science Department at Mercyhurst University. An articulated pathway will better prepare students to directly enter the workforce or continue to post-secondary education with advantages including increased dual enrollment and post-secondary credit alignment opportunities, and industry certifications such as CompTIA's A+, Network+, and Security+. Erie City is creating workforce opportunities in computing and, together with ECSD, will be able to provide a conduit to computer and STEM careers with data-driven innovation, cross-sector partnerships, and stakeholder engagement opportunities. 

Grant Amount: $500,000

Grant Recipient: Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit

Grant Program Name: PA STEM Lending Library Coalition

Grant Program Description: The PA STEM Lending Library Coalition is comprised of 10 intermediate units (IUs) who have a shared vision to increase their collective capacities to support their school districts in furthering equity of access of codable devices in classrooms across Pennsylvania. Funds will be utilized to create, sustain, and expand a collection of codable devices that will be lent to educators across Pennsylvania to use to teach their students. Furthermore, members of the coalition will develop and curate training materials within an online platform which will allow any teacher across the state to learn effective instructional practices while using the selected devices. Intermediate Units, by their nature, are in a unique position to support schools and individual students. The IUs participating in this grant have schools in their footprints that represent urban, suburban, and rural districts, and these widespread demographics will allow our Coalition to reach students from all socioeconomic levels, all race/ethnic populations, ages, and genders. This Coalition will directly benefit 154 districts, 15 career and technology centers, and over 85 non-public schools. This grant targets students across the Commonwealth and sets a model for developing resources that can reach each and every one.

Grant Amount: $500,000

Grant Recipient: PA SEED Ecosystem

Grant Program Name: Southeast Pennsylvania Chief Science Officers Program

Grant Program Description: The Southeast Pennsylvania Chief Science Officers Program (SEPA-CSO) will be a regional chapter of the International CSO program for students in grades 7 – 12 in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery County public schools.  Students will be elected by their peers to be computer science, STEM, and innovation liaisons for their schools and communities. CSOs are part of a cadre of student leaders who undergo special leadership training, develop and promote computer science and STEM engagement opportunities in their schools and communities, and work as a collective cabinet to provide ideas to adult computer science and STEM leaders in their region. CSOs work with school administrators and educators to bridge opportunities for their schools and build interest and excitement among their peers for computer science and STEM. In the community, CSOs cultivate partnerships and provide the student perspective in conversations about computer science and STEM in education with local businesses, media, and policymakers. CSOs engage with a variety of computer science and STEM organizations and professionals, and community members. These individuals can be mentors, event facilitators, and school partners who provide hands-on formal and informal learning experiences, support critical knowledge and skill development, and champion CSOs' engagement with community leaders.

Grant Amount: $390,675

Grant Recipient: Penn State New Kensington/ABC CREATE

Grant Program Name: ABC CREATE Connects

Grant Program Description: Located outside Pittsburgh, ABC CREATE is a collaborative led by Penn State New Kensington and composed of 14 school districts, two universities, and nine Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab Satellite Network Partners, with a mission to work collaboratively to connect ABC CREATE teachers with professional learning communities, tools, and best practices to develop competent and technologically-fluent students. Our PAsmart project starts with a well-established foundation of integrating STE(A)M - including coding and computer science - into classrooms across the 14 district collaborative and allows us to advance work in the following areas: 1) Transitioning students from block-based to text-based programming and increasing skills and confidence of district teachers in using text-based programming by providing professional development for teachers from each ABC CREATE district to support both student and teacher computer science learning, 2) accelerating the development of the K-12 Learning Pathways, grab and go STE(A)M-based modules within four vertically articulated STEAM strands, 3) developing further strategies for addressing equity and access concerns within and across the 14 ABC CREATE school districts, 4) engaging educators with business and industry to prepare students with 21st Century Skills needed in the workplace for Industry 4.0, and 5) providing support to facilitate and manage approaches and logistics for this project.

Grant Amount: $328,944

Grant Recipient: Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

Grant Program Name: Southern Alleghenies STEM Ecosystem

Grant Program Description: The Southern Alleghenies STEM Ecosystem, consisting of the counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Somerset, serves a population of 379,492 residents. The Ecosystem will build on existing partnerships to take a broader and more comprehensive approach to addressing the need of a dearth of a trained labor force in the region. The colleges and universities, intermediate unit, and school districts will be involved in developing teacher training and parent training opportunities in increasing STEM awareness. In addition, they will also be involved in working directly with schools to engage students in grades K-8 in STEM-related activities. These activities will continue through out-of-school and summer activities coordinated with the public libraries in the region. Finally, the business and industry partners, in collaboration with Johnstown Area Regional Industries and the CareerLink, will continue to develop activities that address dislocated workers and engage those who are not connected to the workforce. Likewise, they will collaborate with local school districts to expose teachers and students directly with industry through industry tours, job shadowing, and in-class presentations. The collaboration and coordination between all the partners will ensure a comprehensive distribution of these opportunities more evenly across the service area.

Grant Amount: $498,495

Grant Recipient: Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation

Grant Program Name: Technology in Education

Grant Program Description: The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation has developed a program called "Technology in Education" to provide access to STEM education throughout Western Pennsylvania. This program was developed by the Foundation along with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and school districts to provide equal STEM learning opportunities in the state of Pennsylvania. The "Technology in Education" initiative is an umbrella of two separate programs including: STEAM Lending Libraries and STEAM Learning Libraries. STEAM Lending Libraries is a program that works directly with Intermediate Units to create fully functional STEM learning centers. The following IUs will benefit from obtaining a lending library or an enhancement at their site: IU2, AIU3, IU4, IU5, IU6, IU7, IU8, IU27, and IU28. The AIU3 will also serve as the fiscal agent on this project. The STEAM Learning Libraries offers students and teachers access to a comprehensive STEM library located in each school district. Franklin Regional School District has been selected by the Foundation to receive this upgrade throughout all libraries in the district. This project will directly serve students in Kindergarten through 12th grade in the following counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Venango, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Grant Amount: $442,323.93

Grant Recipient: Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc.

Grant Program Name: Quip STEM Lodge: Primacy, Imaginative, Captivating

Grant Program Description: The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) and Aliquippa School District (ASD) will be implementing district-wide STEM classes into the curriculum for the 2019-20 school year, as well as creating two STEM centers at the elementary and junior/senior high schools. In order to address the needs of a large population of economically disadvantaged students, along with low test scores and an economically depressed region, ASD will utilize STEM curriculum in conjunction with workforce development through PIC to meet these needs. Each of the STEM centers will include advanced technology equipment, such as 3-D printers, robotics, drones, laptops, and other necessary tools to complete STEM related activities as well as provide hands-on experience related to future careers in the region. The STEM and Computer Science curriculum will be integrated into the mandatory supplemental 9-week rotation for grades K-9 as well as a STEM elective that will be offered to sophomores, juniors, and seniors at the high school. The STEM and Computer Science curriculum will not only include the traditional Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but will also include career pathways that are specific to job opportunities within the region.

Grant Amount: $443,078.03

Grant Recipient: School District of Philadelphia

Grant Program Name: Advancing Computer Science Pathways in Philadelphia

Grant Program Description: The School District of Philadelphia's goal is to ensure that students have equitable access to Computer Science education opportunities in every K-12 school across the District. The PAsmart grant builds on ongoing work in which the District and our partners have already committed. In the middle school, this would entail strengthening our existing teaching force (CS Discoveries in 133 schools) through ongoing professional development. In high schools that do not currently offer Computer Science courses, this grant will help the District to recruit and engage 1 or more teachers from up to 25 schools to participate in professional development to prepare them to teach AP Computer Science Principles in the 2019-20 school year. In up to 10 high schools with existing Computer Science courses, the grant will help the District expand the Computer Science pathway by adding additional courses for the 2020-21 school year. During the grant period, teachers will receive college credits and other experiences that build their capacity to teach these courses. The District will also use grant funds to support and grow existing FIRST Tech Competition and Lego League team infrastructure in middle school and high school to boost interest in computer science and engineering.

Grant Amount: $500,000

Grant Recipient: South Fayette School District

Grant Program Name: The STEAM Studio Model for Innovation: Building Robust Learning Ecologies and Pathways in Computer Science

Grant Program Description: The STEAM Studio Model for Innovation: Building Robust Learning Ecologies and Pathways in Computer Science is a program designed to expand access to high-quality computing education for all. The eight partnering pilot districts served through this grant are a microcosm of the education systems in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, representing rural, urban, and suburban schools, serving a diverse population. The districts include: Carmichaels and Jefferson-Morgan in Greene County; Charleroi School District in Washington County; Brownsville Area School District in Fayette County; Beechwood Elementary, Manchester Academic Charter, Pittsburgh Allegheny K-5, and South Fayette Township school districts in Allegheny County. Supported by Matt’s Maker Space Foundation, this collaboration is designed to better understand how to remove barriers and challenges for all schools in the Commonwealth.

Program components include: developing a PA statewide online education platform for teaching introductory CS/STEM education across grades K-8; co-creating introductory CS/STEM curricula, assessments, and professional development; and developing a cyclical feedback loop to support quality implementation. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Clemson University will evaluate ways to increase equitable participation in the CS activities, particularly among girls and students of color by focusing on technology-driven collaborative problem-solving. Digital Promise researchers will focus on gauging students' and teachers' conceptual understanding of key competencies in computer science.

Grant Amount: $499,613

Grant Recipient: Spring Cove School District

Grant Program Name: PAsmart Rural Community Advancement Partnership

Grant Program Description: The PAsmart Rural Community Advancement Partnership addresses the economic and workforce needs of its rural South Central Pennsylvania community. Of the 1,744 students to be served by the initiative, 48% are female, 47% qualify as low-income, 15% require special education, and 0.7% are English Language Learners. The initiative leverages cross-sector partnerships to engage all of these populations equally through early access to Computer Science/STEM education, including engaging, innovative Project Lead the Way (PLTW) programming to impact grades K-12. Specifically, PLTW District Transformation Training will be provided to all elementary faculty. The related supplies will be purchased, and two trained Launch Lead Teachers will help sustain the initiative into the future.  At the middle school, where three PLTW Gateway modules are currently being implemented, training and supplies will be provided to implement four new modules focused on Computer Science/Technology.  Students will also be offered the opportunity to achieve industry-recognized IT certification. Finally, three new PLTW courses within the Computer Science and Engineering Pathways will be instituted at the high school in 2019-20, and a Cybersecurity course will be added in 2020-21. Efforts will include expanding dual-enrollment offerings and increasing work-based learning experiences.

Grant Amount: $500,000

Grant Recipient: United Way of Mercer County

Grant Program Name: 4C Catalyst

Grant Program Description: Mercer County is embarking on a bold collaborative as a strategic catalyst to stimulate and re-envision a regional ecosystem that empowers and prepares students for emerging Computer Science and STEM careers. Through a cross-sector partnership, an innovative design captures the resources of Mercer County area schools, businesses, workforce and economic development partners, and community-based organizations to launch a large-scale initiative focused on re-defining Computer Science and STEM skill development in alignment with career pathways with 21st century skills. With a goal of engaging 1,500 students in 5th-9th grades annually, our initiative, 4C Catalyst, represents the expertise, resources, and commitment of our community in a collective vision to advance computer science and STEM education for our students, as well as engage parents and community stakeholders regarding evolving career opportunities. Through our project, youth in Mercer County will be connected to dynamic 21st century learning and career development programs that include stimulating curriculum, innovative technology, and workforce experiences.

Grant Amount: $327,000